Eddy Nahmias examines the belief that - Neuroscience is the Death of Free Will

What Eddy Nahmias has written is so interesting and attention worthy, that I’m starting a new thread though it’s related to another threat that’s lost in a quagmire. I’ve tried organizing it so those with objections have the opportunity to be specific about what they object to and perhaps justify that objection.
{With a tip of my hat to GdB for sharing this with us.}

New York Times - The Stone Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will? By EDDY NAHMIAS date published NOVEMBER 13, 2011 http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/is-neuroscience-the-death-of-free-will/?_r=0
¶4 ... central problem: these scientists are employing a flawed notion of free will. ¶5 When Haggard concludes that we do not have free will “in the sense we think," he reveals how this conclusion depends on a particular definition of free will. Scientists’ arguments that free will is an illusion typically begin by assuming that free will, by definition, requires an immaterial soul or non-physical mind, and they take neuroscience to provide evidence that our minds are physical. ... ¶6 We should be wary of defining things out of existence. Define Earth as the planet at the center of the universe and it turns out there is no Earth. ... ¶7 The sciences of the mind do give us good reasons to think that our minds are made of matter. But to conclude that consciousness or free will is thereby an illusion is too quick. It is like inferring from discoveries in organic chemistry that life is an illusion just because living organisms are made up of non-living stuff. ... ¶8 Our brains are the most complexly organized things in the known universe, just the sort of thing that could eventually make sense of why each of us is unique, why we are conscious creatures and why humans have abilities to comprehend, converse, and create that go well beyond the precursors of these abilities in other animals. ... ¶9 ... understand free will as a set of capacities for imagining future courses of action, deliberating about one’s reasons for choosing them, planning one’s actions in light of this deliberation and controlling actions in the face of competing desires. ... ¶10 These capacities for conscious deliberation, rational thinking and self-control are not magical abilities. They need not belong to immaterial souls outside the realm of scientific understanding ... ¶15 However, the existing evidence does not support the conclusion that free will is an illusion. First of all, it does not show that a decision has been made before people are aware of having made it. It simply finds discernible patterns of neural activity that precede decisions. If we assume that conscious decisions have neural correlates, then we should expect to find early signs of those correlates “ramping up" to the moment of consciousness. ... ¶16 This is what we should expect with simple decisions. Indeed, we are lucky that conscious thinking plays little or no role in quick or habitual decisions and actions. ... ¶17 ... We should not begin by assuming that free will requires a conscious self that exists beyond the brain (where?), and then conclude that any evidence that shows brain processes precede action thereby demonstrates that consciousness is bypassed. Rather, we should consider the role of consciousness in action on the assumption that our conscious deliberation and rational thinking are carried out by complex brain processes, and then ... ¶19 ... It would mean that whatever processes in the brain are involved in conscious deliberation and self-control — and the substantial energy these processes use — were as useless as our appendix, that they evolved only to observe what we do after the fact, rather than to improve our decision-making and behavior. ¶21 If we put aside the misleading idea that free will depends on supernatural souls rather than our quite miraculous brains, and if we put aside the mistaken idea that our conscious thinking matters most in the milliseconds before movement, then neuroscience does not kill free will. Rather, it can help to explain our capacities to control our actions in such a way that we are responsible for them. It can help us rediscover free will. By EDDY NAHMIAS date published NOVEMBER 13, 2011 for the complete text see: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/is-neuroscience-the-death-of-free-will/?_r=0
Now that's some stuff that makes sense to me :-)

PS

Eddy Nahmias is an associate professor at Georgia State University in the department of philosophy and the Neuroscience Institute. He is the author of many articles, including “Scientific Challenges to Free Will" and “Intuitions about Free Will, Determinism, and Bypassing." He is the co-editor of the book, “Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings," and is currently writing another, titled “Rediscovering Free Will."

What Eddy Nahmias has written is so interesting and attention worthy, that I'm starting a new thread though it's related to another threat that's lost in a quagmire. I've tried organizing it so those with objections have the opportunity to be specific about what they object to and perhaps justify that objection. {With a tip of my hat to GdB for sharing this with us.}
New York Times - The Stone Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will? By EDDY NAHMIAS date published NOVEMBER 13, 2011 http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/is-neuroscience-the-death-of-free-will/?_r=0
¶4 ... central problem: these scientists are employing a flawed notion of free will. ¶5 When Haggard concludes that we do not have free will “in the sense we think," he reveals how this conclusion depends on a particular definition of free will. Scientists’ arguments that free will is an illusion typically begin by assuming that free will, by definition, requires an immaterial soul or non-physical mind, and they take neuroscience to provide evidence that our minds are physical. ... ¶6 We should be wary of defining things out of existence. Define Earth as the planet at the center of the universe and it turns out there is no Earth. ... ¶7 The sciences of the mind do give us good reasons to think that our minds are made of matter. But to conclude that consciousness or free will is thereby an illusion is too quick. It is like inferring from discoveries in organic chemistry that life is an illusion just because living organisms are made up of non-living stuff. ... ¶8 Our brains are the most complexly organized things in the known universe, just the sort of thing that could eventually make sense of why each of us is unique, why we are conscious creatures and why humans have abilities to comprehend, converse, and create that go well beyond the precursors of these abilities in other animals. ... ¶9 ... understand free will as a set of capacities for imagining future courses of action, deliberating about one’s reasons for choosing them, planning one’s actions in light of this deliberation and controlling actions in the face of competing desires. ... ¶10 These capacities for conscious deliberation, rational thinking and self-control are not magical abilities. They need not belong to immaterial souls outside the realm of scientific understanding ... ¶15 However, the existing evidence does not support the conclusion that free will is an illusion. First of all, it does not show that a decision has been made before people are aware of having made it. It simply finds discernible patterns of neural activity that precede decisions. If we assume that conscious decisions have neural correlates, then we should expect to find early signs of those correlates “ramping up" to the moment of consciousness. ... ¶16 This is what we should expect with simple decisions. Indeed, we are lucky that conscious thinking plays little or no role in quick or habitual decisions and actions. ... ¶17 ... We should not begin by assuming that free will requires a conscious self that exists beyond the brain (where?), and then conclude that any evidence that shows brain processes precede action thereby demonstrates that consciousness is bypassed. Rather, we should consider the role of consciousness in action on the assumption that our conscious deliberation and rational thinking are carried out by complex brain processes, and then ... ¶19 ... It would mean that whatever processes in the brain are involved in conscious deliberation and self-control — and the substantial energy these processes use — were as useless as our appendix, that they evolved only to observe what we do after the fact, rather than to improve our decision-making and behavior. ¶21 If we put aside the misleading idea that free will depends on supernatural souls rather than our quite miraculous brains, and if we put aside the mistaken idea that our conscious thinking matters most in the milliseconds before movement, then neuroscience does not kill free will. Rather, it can help to explain our capacities to control our actions in such a way that we are responsible for them. It can help us rediscover free will. By EDDY NAHMIAS date published NOVEMBER 13, 2011 for the complete text see: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/is-neuroscience-the-death-of-free-will/?_r=0
Now that's some stuff that makes sense to me :-)
And me CC. But you are forgetting that free will refers to more than one thing. It's a cardinal rule not to forget that. The neuroscientists are saying they are showing we don't have LFW. We don't and can't. CFW is quite different. Now when someone says "we don't have LFW" it is wrong to respond "yes we do have Free will" It's like someone saying "I don't believe in magic" and someone else saying "well I do" referring to conjuring tricks. Because of course the other person believes in conjuring tricks that just wasn't the subject.
But you are forgetting that free will refers to more than one thing. It's a cardinal rule not to forget that. The neuroscientists are saying they are showing we don't have LFW. We don't and can't.
No, that is not what they are saying. They say we have no free will; full stop. But we know from their experiments that they only refute LFW. Which is pretty uninteresting because science is based on the assumption of determinism. Did these neuroscientists seriously expect to see things happen in the brain without a causal prequel? Therefore Sam Harris' and Lois' thinking that this kind of experiments is somehow relevant for the question of free will is just empty-headed. They don't touch on CFW at all, which the article quite clear shows. The neuroscientists just don't take CFW in account.
The neuroscientists are saying they are showing we don't have LFW. We don't and can't.
You mean there are a few neuroscientists making claims way beyond what their studies are actually showing? Also, why not go at what you find is wrong headed in Nahmias' argument, rather than creating straw men (what you assume I believe) to tear down. :blank: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Stephen, Perhaps you can share your definition of "free will". Would you agree with
¶5 ... The neuroscientist Read Montague defines free will as “the idea that we make choices and have thoughts independent of anything remotely resembling a physical process. Free will is the close cousin to the idea of the soul" (Current Biology 18, 2008).[2] … ¶6 We should be wary of defining things out of existence. Define Earth as the planet at the center of the universe and it turns out there is no Earth. ... ¶9 These discoveries about how our brains work can also explain how free will works rather than explaining it away. But first, we need to define free will in a more reasonable and useful way. Many philosophers, including me, understand free will as a set of capacities for imagining future courses of action, deliberating about one’s reasons for choosing them, planning one’s actions in light of this deliberation and controlling actions in the face of competing desires. We act of our own free will to the extent that we have the opportunity to exercise these capacities, without unreasonable external or internal pressure. We are responsible for our actions roughly to the extent that we possess these capacities and we have opportunities to exercise them. ...
I accept that determinism directs my life, I am the sum total of all the experiences and events that have preceded this moment, …. (no time to get into it any more than that, gotta run) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I know at one point I used the term "ghost in the machine" - reading this article Nahmias also used the term and I can see how I could be misunderstood because what I meant was not what appears to be the common understanding. I mean something more along the lines that increasing complexity produces ever greater cognitive and motor abilities to the creature's repertoire. ………. Something along the lines of:
¶7 The sciences of the mind do give us good reasons to think that our minds are made of matter. But to conclude that consciousness or free will is thereby an illusion is too quick. It is like inferring from discoveries in organic chemistry that life is an illusion just because living organisms are made up of non-living stuff. ... ¶8 Our brains are the most complexly organized things in the known universe, just the sort of thing that could eventually make sense of why each of us is unique, why we are conscious creatures and why humans have abilities to comprehend, converse, and create that go well beyond the precursors of these abilities in other animals. …
New York Times - The Stone Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will? By EDDY NAHMIAS date published NOVEMBER 13, 2011 http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/is-neuroscience-the-death-of-free-will/?_r=0
But you are forgetting that free will refers to more than one thing. It's a cardinal rule not to forget that. The neuroscientists are saying they are showing we don't have LFW. We don't and can't.
No, that is not what they are saying. They say we have no free will; full stop. But we know from their experiments that they only refute LFW. Which is pretty uninteresting because science is based on the assumption of determinism. Did these neuroscientists seriously expect to see things happen in the brain without a causal prequel? Therefore Sam Harris' and Lois' thinking that this kind of experiments is somehow relevant for the question of free will is just empty-headed. They don't touch on CFW at all, which the article quite clear shows. The neuroscientists just don't take CFW in account. The neuroscientist's are saying we don't have LFW because that's what they mean by Free Will. When someone says we don't have free will that's what they mean usually. They don't mean we can't act in accordance with our beliefs and desires, If they deny free will full stop it's just semantics usually as in the case of Sam Harris.
The neuroscientists are saying they are showing we don't have LFW. We don't and can't.
You mean there are a few neuroscientists making claims way beyond what their studies are actually showing? No, their experiments are showing we don't have LFW.
Also, why not go at what you find is wrong headed in Nahmias' argument, rather than creating straw men (what you assume I believe) to tear down. :blank:
There is nothing wrong with his argument. I said what's wrong and that is the neuroscientists are talking about LFW and he is talking about CFW
Stephen, Perhaps you can share your definition of "free will".
I have shared my definitions of Free will. 1) LFW is the concept that we could have done otherwise without circumstances beyond our control having been appropriately different. So for example to have had something else for breakfast yesterday your distant past would have had to have been different. It's the denial that that or anything else out of your control would have had to have been different to have made a different choice. 2) CFW is when we can act in accordance with our beliefs and desires.
Would you agree with
]¶5 ... The neuroscientist Read Montague defines free will as “the idea that we make choices and have thoughts independent of anything remotely resembling a physical process. Free will is the close cousin to the idea of the soul" (Current Biology 18, 2008).[2] …
Yes, that is LFW but one needs to be clear about what this independence is supposed to get us. It's supposed to free us from being controlled by circumstances beyond our control, which is what my definition includes.

I think free will in regards to neuroscience and philosophy are not interchangeable. From what I have read of neuroscience, the self is an illusion, a trick of the brain like consciousness. If that’s true, isn’t free will also an illusion?

I think free will in regards to neuroscience and philosophy are not interchangeable. From what I have read of neuroscience, the self is an illusion, a trick of the brain like consciousness. If that's true, isn't free will also an illusion?
Fact is Free Will does refer to different things. The free will illusion is that we could do otherwise without circumstances beyond our control being appropriately different. Combine that with the concept of the choice being up to us and we get the illusion that 'the choice is entirely up to us' But of course it isn't an illusion that we can act in accordance with our beliefs and desires.
I think free will in regards to neuroscience and philosophy are not interchangeable. From what I have read of neuroscience, the self is an illusion, a trick of the brain like consciousness. If that's true, isn't free will also an illusion?
Sort of. But you are on thin ice. I assume you are conscious. So in the first place calling it a 'trick of the brain' is beside the point. Brains somehow 'produce', or 'go hand in hand' with consciousness. If there is a trick, then something must be fooled by the trick. Just imagine a stage magician that by doing a trick 'creates the audience' and the audience is fooled by the trick, and really believes that it exists... It is true that you do not find a self on a purely physical level. But somehow it does exist. To give a parallel: we know since a long time that life is just a complicated chemical process. But we are not inclined to say that life does not exist: we only have explained it. Same with consciousness and self. We can explain (or better, are slowly on our way explaining) them, but that does not mean they do not exist. But once you take a self for granted, you get free will 'for free'. It is no use to speak of a self, and then say that there is no free will because we are determined at the physical level. But, of course it is compatibilist free will: our actions can be according our wishes and beliefs. But of course these wishes and beliefs are determined as anything else.
The neuroscientist's are saying we don't have LFW because that's what they mean by Free Will. When someone says we don't have free will that's what they mean usually. They don't mean we can't act in accordance with our beliefs and desires,
But because they cannot imagine that there is another, more consistent way of defining free will than LFW, they say we have no free will at all. They do as if we need LFW as our basis for blaming, praising and assigning responsibility, and therefore must change our societal praxis. But CFW can bear the burden.
The neuroscientist's are saying we don't have LFW because that's what they mean by Free Will. When someone says we don't have free will that's what they mean usually. They don't mean we can't act in accordance with our beliefs and desires,
But because they cannot imagine that there is another, more consistent way of defining free will than LFW, they say we have no free will at all. They do as if we need LFW as our basis for blaming, praising and assigning responsibility, and therefore must change our societal praxis. But CFW can bear the burden. I think we agree GdB. We agree that things do change for the better if we dont believe in ultimate responsibility and LFW. We agree that CFW is the basis for praise, blame and real responsibility. And yes neuroscientists often dont understand that and are confused, especially about CHDO.
I assume you are conscious. So in the first place calling it a 'trick of the brain' is beside the point. Brains somehow 'produce', or 'go hand in hand' with consciousness. If there is a trick, then something must be fooled by the trick. Just imagine a stage magician that by doing a trick 'creates the audience' and the audience is fooled by the trick, and really believes that it exists...
That's a beautiful way of explaining why "the self (or consciousness) is an illusion" is a bizarre--I daresay, nonsensical--claim. Exactly what I've always thought when I read such arguments by Dennett and others, but without the analogy of the magician and the audience. Did you come up with that? I wonder how Dan Dennett would respond to that analogy. I think he'd shake his head and say "category error," followed by "You...just...don't...get...it!" And then, "How dare neuroscientists intrude on my area of expertise--philosophy!!! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to write a neuroscience-heavy book that 'explains' consciousness, then I'm going to write a book where I speculate about the evolutionary origins of religion. And again, how dare neuroscientists and evolutionary biologists and psychologists intrude on my area of expertise--philosophy?!! "Anyway, see you later. I'm going off to write a book explaining all the parts of physics that physicists haven't figured out yet, because, you know, they're not polymath philosophers like me. It will be called Everything Explained. And those physicists better not try to do any philosophy!!! NOT...THEIR...FIELD!!!" Sorry about that, but Dan Dennett really annoys me. He's brilliant, don't get me wrong. But I'm getting tired of his arrogance and delusions of grandeur--and his complete unwillingness to understand the arguments of people like Sam Harris. Harris knows that their disagreements about free will are purely semantic in nature. Dennett clearly doesn't get that, or refuses to accept it. Sorry for the uncalled-for rant. Dennett has made me mentally ill.

You rock, Bug!
Also, everyone, read the 1st phrase of my signature line.

You rock, Bug! Also, everyone, read the 1st phrase of my signature line.
Also not a fan of Dennett, I'm guessing? And your signature line confuses me...
You rock, Bug! Also, everyone, read the 1st phrase of my signature line.
Also not a fan of Dennett, I'm guessing? And your signature line confuses me... It's more that I am not a fan of any self/or-other-proclaimed experts, when they do not reflect carefully, and with intellectual integrity, on their own assertions and arguments in conjunction with the assertions and arguments of the persons that they are arguing with.

Sorry BugRip, but I think Dennett would agree with me.

Sorry about that, but Dan Dennett really annoys me. He's brilliant, don't get me wrong. But I'm getting tired of his arrogance and delusions of grandeur--and his complete unwillingness to understand the arguments of people like Sam Harris. Harris knows that their disagreements about free will are purely semantic in nature. Dennett clearly doesn't get that, or refuses to accept it.
Sorry about that, but Sam Harris really annoys me. He's totally arrogant, really. I'm getting tired of his arrogance and delusions of grandeur--and his complete unwillingness to understand the arguments of people like Dan Dennett, and many more philosophers. Harris has no understanding of the topic of free will at all. Harris clearly doesn't get that, or refuses to accept it. Same holds for Harris about moslem terrorists. His total lack of understanding of the backgrounds of the terrorist brings him to make sweeping statements about Islam that are a danger for peace and of human lifes. Wikipedia]:
Anthropologist Scott Atran has criticized Harris for unscientifically highlighting the role of belief in the psychology of suicide bombers. In the 2006 conference Beyond Belief, Atran confronted Harris for portraying a "caricature of Islam". Atran later followed up his comments in an online discussion for Edge.org, in which he criticized Harris and others for combating religious dogmatism and faith in a way that Atran believes is "scientifically baseless, psychologically uninformed, politically naïve, and counterproductive for goals we share". In The National Interest, Atran argued against Harris's thesis in The Moral Landscape that science can determine moral values. Atran adds that abolishing religion will do nothing to rid mankind of its ills.
Just to mention: Scott Atran did research about the terrorists. Harris is just venting his opinions in the same way as in his favourite bar. And he does exactly the same in his pamphlet about free will. I have read 'Free will' of Harris, and 'Elbow room' and 'Freedom evolves' of Dennett (and 'Consciousness explained', 'Darwin's dangerous idea'). I have won the deepest insights in reading Dennett. Harris just scratches the surface a bit, and thinks he has made a point. Harris is just a victim of naive scientism. ('Naive scientism' is in fact a pleonasm...) The only reason that he is accepted, is that he is such a great militant atheist. PS I regret you left the discussion here].
Sorry about that, but Sam Harris really annoys me. He's totally arrogant, really. I'm getting tired of his arrogance and delusions of grandeur--and his complete unwillingness to understand the arguments of people like Dan Dennett, and many more philosophers. Harris has no understanding of the topic of free will at all. Harris clearly doesn't get that, or refuses to accept it.
Touché.
Same holds for Harris about moslem terrorists. His total lack of understanding of the backgrounds of the terrorist brings him to make sweeping statements about Islam that are a danger for peace and of human lifes.
I agree that Harris understates the role of politics and U.S. foreign policy in creating the conditions for Islamic radicalism in The End of Faith. However, it does seem he's come around somewhat on this issue, and has also softened his views about Israel being the absolute good guy in their conflict with Palestinians. That being said, to say he has a "total lack of understanding of the backgrounds of the terrorists" is just ridiculous. You've either never read the book, or you've completely forgotten it.
Wikipedia]:
Anthropologist Scott Atran has criticized Harris for unscientifically highlighting the role of belief in the psychology of suicide bombers. In the 2006 conference Beyond Belief, Atran confronted Harris for portraying a "caricature of Islam". Atran later followed up his comments in an online discussion for Edge.org, in which he criticized Harris and others for combating religious dogmatism and faith in a way that Atran believes is "scientifically baseless, psychologically uninformed, politically naïve, and counterproductive for goals we share". In The National Interest, Atran argued against Harris's thesis in The Moral Landscape that science can determine moral values. Atran adds that abolishing religion will do nothing to rid mankind of its ills.
Just to mention: Scott Atran did research about the terrorists. Harris is just venting his opinions in the same way as in his favourite bar. And he does exactly the same in his pamphlet about free will.
That's nice. Someone has done "research" (unlike Sam Harris who just made it all up) and come to a different conclusion that is perfectly in line with the politically correct liberal position about Islam (I'm a hardcore liberal, by the way). I hope Atran doesn't consider Islam "a religion of peace", because then I'd have to completely dismiss him out of hand.
I have read 'Free will' of Harris, and 'Elbow room' and 'Freedom evolves' of Dennett (and 'Consciousness explained', 'Darwin's dangerous idea'). I have won the deepest insights in reading Dennett. Harris just scratches the surface a bit, and thinks he has made a point. Harris is just a victim of naive scientism. ('Naive scientism' is in fact a pleonasm...) The only reason that he is accepted, is that he is such a great militant atheist.
Well, you're entitled to your opinion...

Just about everyone has had some experience with rain. Among those who have, they do not require a meteorologist to tell them it is raining, if they can just look out the window.
Similarly, someone who is familiar with the basics of Islam and its various incarnations of Muslim sects and their various doctrinal interpretations and propensities to follow or submit to those particular dogmas, should not need an “expert” to tell them there is a serious problem for mankind, posed by certain interpretations of Islam.

Just about everyone has had some experience with rain. Among those who have, they do not require a meteorologist to tell them it is raining, if they can just look out the window. Similarly, someone who is familiar with the basics of Islam and its various incarnations of Muslim sects and their various doctrinal interpretations and propensities to follow or submit to those particular dogmas, should not need an "expert" to tell them there is a serious problem for mankind, posed by certain interpretations of Islam.
...Which is all Harris is saying. I swear he is the most misinterpreted intellectual of all time--at least by those who should otherwise be on his ideological side. Like Harris has said, if he was criticizing the doctrine of communism, would anyone call him a bigot? Why are religions considered special kinds of ideologies that shan't be criticized like any other? Has anyone called him a bigot for his criticisms of any other religions? All he's saying is that Islam poses a greater threat to civilization than any other religion today. He's never said that all Muslims are bad or that American Muslims should be discriminated against (although he does believe in racial profiling in certain situations, which I think I actually agree with, though reluctantly). And he absolutely never suggested that we should preemptively nuke the Middle East, or that people should be killed for their thoughts, or that torture is good (he simply pointed out that it's no worse than collateral damage) as he is routinely accused of by other liberals and atheists who really should work on their reading comprehension. Is it okay that we're getting off topic? I'm relatively new here. Okay, back on topic of Free Will and neuroscience. Dennett vs. Harris: First of all, Harris only uses neuroscience in his arguments about Free Will for effect. His real argument is that Free Will--as the vast majority of people understand it (and the vast majority of philosophers and theologians historically--have understood it), is simply logically incoherent. Either our actions are determined, random, or a combination of the two--none of which adds up to the Free Will that most people believe in. Dennett and other compatibilists, on the other hand, are redefining Free Will as very few people understand it. Pretty much all theists (and a surprising number of atheists) are dualists, and believe that Free Will comes from our spirits or souls, or some part of our conscious selves that transcends the laws of cause and effect. Dennett doesn't believe this, so he redefines Free Will as free will. He takes the special use of the term; "she acted of her own free will" as his definition of Free Will. Now everyone knows that "free will" in the phrase "acted of her own free will" is not referring to the deep philosophical concept of Free Will. In my opinion, it is just intellectually dishonest for Dennett and others compatibilists to redefine Free Will to mean something so banal. The vast majority of people who hear about compatibilist philosophers' support for Free Will aren't going to read any of their books, they're simply going to think that many (most?) philosophers now support the dualist, logically incoherent type of Free Will that they believe in. And frankly, I think Dennett knows this, as evidenced by the fact that he has a huge ulterior motive--he thinks that if people don't believe in Free Will, they will act less morally. Watch any of his lectures about Free Will on Youtube and you might notice that he spends nearly half his time talking about the dangers of people not believing in Free Will. So Dennett and Harris don't actually disagree on any factual level about how consciousness relates to Free Will. But based on Dennett's snobbish attack on Harris--excuse me, a straw man version of Harris--several months back, Dennett doesn't seem to understand this. He sneeringly referred to Harris' book/pamphlet Free Will as a "museum of mistakes", which is odd since, again, they don't actually disagree about anything other than whether the term "Free Will" should be redefined. In Harris' Free Will, he explained why he disagrees with Dennett, but he never took such a condescending tone nor accused Dennett of being factually wrong about anything. This is why I think Harris has behaved in an exemplary manner in this debate, while I find Dennett to be acting arrogantly. Dennett makes so many mistakes about what Harris is saying in Free Will that it feels like a fragile ego recklessly lashing out at a critic. I had no problem understanding Harris' argument, even though I'm probably not nearly as intelligent as Dennett. So why is Dennett unable to understand Harris' arguments? You might want to read this response by Harris to Dennett's sneering attack: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-marionettes-lament Okay, I've said my piece.