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Daniel C. Dennett

Evolutionist theory of freedom

Billions of years ago, there was no freedom on earth, for the simple reason that there was no life. What forms of freedom have evolved since the first stirrings of life? Can freedom and free will exist in a deterministic universe? If we are free, are we responsible for our freedom, or is it governed by chance?
Drawing on evolutionary biology and the cognitive sciences, Daniel Dennett provides a series of unorthodox replies to these traditional philosophical questions. It is generally held that what is determined is inevitable and that freedom can only exist in a non-deterministic universe. This is untrue, says Dennett. It is also held that in a pre-determined universe, we have no real choices: all we have is the illusion that we can choose. This too is false, argues Dennett.
He then goes on to explain how, some day, we will be able to create robots endowed with free will.
In this groundbreaking book, written in a striking, lively style, Dennett interweaves philosophical creativity with the latest scientific developments, and challenges a series of philosophical orthodoxies.

Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, Mass., U.S.A. He is the author of Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea.