Scientism on Steroids: A Review of Freedom Evolves by Daniel Dennett (2003) (review revised 2019)

In Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century-- Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization -- Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 4th Edition Michael Starks. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 200-216 (2019)
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``People say again and again that philosophy doesn´t really progress, that we are still occupied with the same philosophical problems as were the Greeks. But the people who say this don´t understand why it has to be so. It is because our language has remained the same and keeps seducing us into asking the same questions. As long as there continues to be a verb ´to be´ that looks as if it functions in the same way as ´to eat and to drink´, as long as we still have the adjectives ´identical´, ´true´, ´false´, ´possible´, as long as we continue to talk of a river of time, of an expanse of space, etc., etc., people will keep stumbling over the same puzzling difficulties and find themselves staring at something which no explanation seems capable of clearing up. And what´s more, this satisfies a longing for the transcendent, because, insofar as people think they can see the ‘limits of human understanding´, they believe of course that they can see beyond these.`` This quote is from Ludwig Wittgenstein who redefined philosophy some 70 years ago (but most people have yet to find this out). Dennett, though he has been a philosopher for some 40 years, is one of them. It is also curious that both he and his prime antagonist, John Searle, studied under famous Wittgensteinians (Searle with John Austin, Dennett with Gilbert Ryle) but Searle more or less got the point and Dennett did not, (though it is stretching things to call Searle or Ryle Wittgensteinians). Dennett is a hard determinist (though he tries to sneak reality in the back door), and perhaps this is due to Ryle, whose famous book ´The Concept of Mind´(1949) continues to be reprinted. That book did a great job of exorcising the ghost, but it left the machine. Dennett enjoys making the mistakes Wittgenstein, Ryle (and many others since) have exposed in detail. Our use of the words consciousness, choice, freedom, intention, particle, thinking, determines, wave, cause, happened, event (and so on endlessly) are rarely a source of confusion, but as soon as we leave normal life and enter philosophy (and any discussion detached from the environment in which language evolved—i.e., the exact context in which the words had meaning) chaos reigns. Like most, Dennett lacks a coherent framework - which Searle has called the logical structure of rationality. I have expanded on this considerably since I wrote this review and my recent articles show in detail what is wrong with Dennett's approach to philosophy, which one might call Scientism on steroids. Let me end with another quote from Wittgenstein--´Ambition is the death of thought´. Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Human Behavior (2019), and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019)



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Review of Freedom Evolves by Daniel Dennett (2003).Michael Starks - 2017 - Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks 3rd Ed. (2017).
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