So I was reading this critique of the book ‘Free Will‘ by Daniel Dennett. Though I haven’t actually read ‘Free Will’ but I was aware of this book and is on my reading list. Now I think I am going to read this book. Until now, it was, in a sense, difficult to imagine, at least for me, that Dennett would ever disagree with Harris. They are, along with Dawkins and late Hitchens, are considered ‘horsemen’ of new age atheism.
But in his critique, Dennett came down rather harshly on ‘Free Will’ and on Sam, too. The tone of this critique came as a surprise to me. I mean I really never imagined Harris and Dennett would so vehemently disagree with each other. Though I haven’t read Dennett very much, but I somehow consider him as ‘old wise man’ as against to Dawkins for whom I have mixed views. Anyways.
I’ll have to check if Harris or any other moral philosopher such as Paul Bloom or Peter Singer has made any comment on any of this but it is always a treat to see such stimulating intellectual exchange.
Wait, wait! Sam Harris had actually responded to Dennett. He first posted Dennett’s original review with a short preface on his website. Finally he posted his response which is quite ‘something’. Read it here. Wow!
Jerry Coyne all took note of this and has posted a blog covering his views over this debate. Read it here. Like me, he, too, was a bit surprised by this debate which turned out to be a bit nasty. Here is another follow-up article by Coyne on the same topic.