What I've been thinking about...
So it seems that Dennett isn't really arguing for the existence of free will, he's just forming a concept of what people mean when they say a choice is made freely, right? So for the sake of mutual understanding, he forms this concept of things that "could be," though it seems ultimately he is just framing that in a world which we know to be deterministic. Thus, he essentially explains why we perceive free choice even though everything really is deterministic. Do you think that's right?
Yeah, that sounds right. So how come you managed to sum it up in one paragraph and it took me several pages?! Just kidding.
You’re right that Dennett explains an everyday meaning of free will that is indeed compatable with determinism. Whether Dennett is onboard with Determinism, I don’t want to commit, but it *seems* he is.
By avoiding the (philosophically) conventional connotations of free will, you may think he was dealing with an uninteresting question. But I think it’s important. I’d say the type of free will he talks about (which he calls the only kind worth having) is actually what many people want to defend when they react negatively to determinism. By creating an idea of free will that salvages some of the dignity we associate with it, and simultaneously cooperates with determinism, he could potentially be trying to end this long argument.
How else is it to end? One side will rarely admit it’s wrong. Instead the sides may eventually start communicating, and say “oh, did you mean this?”, and “Oh, well I never meant that”, and end up with “It seems there was never any disagreement all along”.
For those who want more, the post that sparked this question is here. Thanks for asking!