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eawhite's picture

Free Will, Piano Keys and Dennett

I’m sorry I missed the discussion last Thursday. After reading the posts, it must have been quite lively. I’d like to comment on free-will versus being a piano key. Free will isn’t without a cost factor whether financially or emotionally driven. Take for example, the average person’s economic condition. If one wants a 50 inch plasma TV and store X has it on sale for a good price – in addition, they are offering you 0% interest and an instant loan to pay for the TV. This offer sounds like a good thing, especially if it’s just before the Super Bowl or World Series. If you can’t afford the TV by paying cash outright for it and buy it anyway, on their terms, you are being played like a piano key. However, to exercise “free will” you would have to say no and save for the TV. Free will to me means that I have an understanding of what my limits are based on the subject at hand. I then have a responsibility to no one but myself to either be played or to use common sense. I suppose what I’m saying is that common sense and free will, in my mind, go hand and hand.


An additional comment on Dennett – I really did not care for his use of metaphors or some of the drastically long passages. I thought in some ways he bordered on arrogant. However, in putting the next paper together, I have found myself thanking Dennett for opening my mind and teaching me to look for evolution in all things. It’s a wonderful thing to think about.


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