The scientists have typically been making a rookie mistake: confusing the manifest image with what we might call the folk ideology of the manifest image. The folk ideology of color is, let's face it, bonkers; color just isn't what most people think it is, but that doesn't mean that the manifest world doesn't really have any colors; it means that colors - real colors - are quite different from what most folks think they are. The folk ideology of consciousness is also bonkers - resolutely dualistic and mysterian; if that were what consciousness had to be, then Wright would be right (see p. 313)3: we'd have to say that consciousness doesn't exist. But we don't have to treat consciousness as "real magic" - the kind that doesn't exist, made of wonder tissue4; we can recognize the reality of consciousness as a phenomenon by acknowledging that folks don't yet have a sound ideology about it. Similarly, free will isn't what some of the folk ideology of the manifest image proclaims it to be, a sort of magical isolation from causation. I've compared free will in this sense to levitation, and one of the philosophical defenders of this bonkers vision has frankly announced that free will is a "little miracle". I wholeheartedly agree with the scientific chorus that that sort of free will is an illusion, but that doesn't mean that free will is an illusion in any morally important sense. It is as real as colors, as real as dollars.
Unfortunately, some of the scientists who now declare that science has shown that free will is an illusion go on to say that this "discovery" matters, in a morally important sense. They think that it has major implications for morality and the law: nobody is ever really responsible, for instance, so nobody ever deserves to be either punished or praised. They are making the mistake people make when they say that nothing is ever solid, not really. They are using an unreconstructed popular concept of free will, when they should be adjusting it first, the way they do with color and consciousness (and space and time and solidity and all the other things that the ideology of the manifest image gets wrong). (s 355-356)
3) Dennett syftar här på vetenskapsjournalisten Robert Wrights följande yttrande:
4) Dennett använder konsekvent fetstil för att signalera att det handlar om ett specifikt tankeverktyg som definieras och förklaras på annan plats i boken.
Alan Sokal (till höger) och yours truly på ett seminarium i Stockholm 2009.
We might be tempted to think that if only we knew what it was like to be them, from the inside, we'd understand this curious addiction of theirs. If we could see it "from their point of view", we would know what it was for. But in this case, we can be quite sure that such insight as we might gain would still leave matters mysterious. For we already have the access we seek; the species is Homo Sapiens (which does indeed inhabit South America, among other places), and the behaviour is laughter. (s 62)