Whether you buy Dennett’s account or not, it illustrates just how much you can offer by way of a theory of consciousness without addressing the Hard Problem. … If he is to win over his critics, Dennett’s own hard problem is his need to do more to show why others should give up theirs.
One thing many of us appear to believe today is that a quick Google search will answer any question. As I discovered when trying to find out what we believe today, you don’t even need to do the search. Just type in the first few words and see how the algorithms complete it for you. So it was that the phrase “believe in” was completed by – as I suspected – “yourself”.
INTERVIEW – SPIKED REVIEW. An interview about free will.
THE FREE THOUGHT PROPHET VIDEO. A fun, informal chat about one of the thorniest problems in philosophy with two real enthusiasts. Watch here.
Among all the disagreements over Brexit, one thing at least might appear to be uncontroversial: the decision was a free choice taken by the British people. Brexiteers would say that it was in fact a double victory for freedom, in that the result is a freer country, unshackled from the constraints of the European Union. If this summary seems self-evident it is only because the very idea of freedom has been debased. Brexit is not a paradigmatic instance of freedom at work, but of freedom being confused with something much less valuable: choice.
THE PHILOSOPHER’S ZONE – ABC RADIO. Discussing free will with Joe Gelonesi. Recorded at the Sydney Writers Festival.
CONVERSATIONS WITH RICHARD FIDLER. A podcast of a live recording of Fidler’s ABC Radio programme at the Sydney Writers Festival. Download or listen here.
Does the world need my book? It might sound conceited even to ask the question, since strictly speaking the answer is almost always no…
NINE TO NOON – RADIO NEW ZEALAND, 12 APRIL. Interviewed by Kathryn Ryan ahead of my appearance at the Auckland Writers Festival next month. You can listen to it here.
Many see the compatibilist version of free will as a “watered-down” version of the real thing, as Robert Kane puts it. Others dismiss compatibilist accounts of free will in less temperate terms. For Sam Harris, it amounts to nothing more than the assertion “A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings.” Kant called it a “wretched subterfuge,” James a “quagmire of evasion” and Wallace Matson “the most flabbergasting instance of the fallacy of changing the subject to be encountered anywhere in the complete history of sophistry.” For many, the free will which compatibilism offers is never as attractive as what they set out to look for, and so we are caught between settling for what we can get and holding out for the elusive ideal.