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Free will and the Moral Agents Club

Lecture by Daniel Dennett


For Daniel Dennett the only kind of freedom of any importance, freedom that is really worth wanting to have, is that which allows us to be morally competent agents, responsible for our actions, both good and bad. This type of freedom has nothing to do with scientific determinism and, in this regard, neither does neuroscience have much to say about it. Dennett invites us to join what he calls the “Club of Moral Agents”, which means taking on the commitment of living in accordance with certain norms and, if we should transgress them, accepting the penalties.

Daniel Dennett is Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University and one of the world’s leading philosophers of science today. In debates of recent years about the progress being made in neuroscience, Dennett has vigorously attacked the deterministic discourse which denies the existence of human free will. In contrast with the view of the human being who is determined by unconscious decision-making, Dennett is unquestionably a great champion of people’s ability to choose and decide, and hence of the human capacity for morality.

Presented by Jaume Bertranpetit, Professor of Biology at the Pompeu Fabra University and director of ICREA (Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies).

Presenters: Jaume Bertranpetit

Participants: Daniel Dennett

This activity is part of HUMAN+

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