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The Philosophy of Daniel Dennett$
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Bryce Huebner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199367511.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 April 2021

Planning and Prefigurative Politics

Planning and Prefigurative Politics

The Nature of Freedom and the Possibility of Control

(p.295) 10.1 Planning and Prefigurative Politics
The Philosophy of Daniel Dennett

Bryce Huebner

Oxford University Press

There are interesting and unexplored points of convergence between Daniel Dennett’s account of human freedom and Michael Bratman’s account of planning agency. Dennett claims that foreknowledge can generate control over ongoing behavior; and by reverse engineering the capacities that are required for planning agency, it is possible to clarify the forms of individual freedom that are available for us. Unfortunately, this process of reverse engineering also suggests that individual freedom is likely to be constrained by the statistical structure of a person’s social and memetic environment. Fortunately, as Dennett argues, human freedom is often sustained by help from our friends. And Bratman’s approach to interpersonal coordination suggests a way of understanding how human freedom can be socially scaffolded. Humans can collectively construct novel possibilities, provided that they are willing to listen to and learn from others. Recognizing this can help to clarify the micropolitical nature of agency and freedom.

Keywords:   agency, free will, prefigurative practice, Michael Bratman, Daniel Dennett

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