Friday, December 21, 2012

PBS on Spending and Saving

Spending their way to joy and prosperity?

The PBS Newshour showed an interesting, although somewhat oversimplified and misleading, segment on the spending vs. saving dilemma. Considering this question from the perspective of holiday buying, Newshour reporter Paul Solman looked at whether the health of the economy requires consumer splurging or austerity and saving. He identified the splurging side with the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and the austerity side with those of Friedrich Hayek. James Livingston, an economic historian at Rutgers University and author of the book Against Thrift, represented the supposedly Keynesian demand side, arguing that economic growth over the past century has been driven primarily by consumption and that private investment has been dropping as a percentage of the economy since the 1920s. Solman’ s brief interviews with shoppers and storeowners provided less theoretical support for spending. The savings argument received less backing, since PBS did not have an authority to counter Livingston, or individuals to testify about the benefits they received from thrift and investment. The program did explain the logic behind the savings side, though, explaining that delaying consumption can create greater productive capacity and enable future prosperity. Solman did, moreover, raise the question of debt with Livingston. 
James Livingston

The Newshour presentation is oversimplified, I think, because production and consumption are really not mutually exclusive choices.  At the beginning of modern economics, Bernard Mandeville and Adam Smith recognized what Keynes would later call “the paradox of thrift,” the idea that if everyone saves and invests and no one spends, there will be no market for goods and therefore no profit for investors. Hayek and the thinkers associated with him have also recognized the importance of consumption for an economy, concentrating on the importance of increasing investment in production of goods that will be purchased.

The argument of Keynes was that productive capacities had outpaced consumption and economic downturns were therefore due to overproduction and underconsumption. Modern industries, according to Keynes, were pushed by their productive capacities to outgrow markets for goods. When this happened, industries would cut back on production and lay off workers. Unemployed and underemployed workers would lack buying power and this would further diminish demand, causing businesses to cut back even further. The Keynesian argument for governmental deficit spending was that government could boost demand so that private businesses would restore unused productive capacities and re-hire workers. The deficits incurred in difficult times would, presumably, be paid off through economic growth.

The Keynesian view, although influential, has not been universally accepted. Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwarz, for example, argued in their 1963 book A Monetary History of the United States that the Great Depression was a product of tight monetary policy preventing recovery from a temporary decline in activity, rather than a crisis of overproduction. Keynes did, though, recognize the importance of production and private investment, arguing that subsidizing demand could pull forward investments in industries. In both the Keynesian and more libertarian approaches, the question was not one of spending replacing saving, but of how to achieve the proper balance between spending and saving and of what role government should play in achieving that balance.
Now, in our present situation, I think our difficulties are the reverse of those that Keynes believed caused slumps, and this is precisely the problem with arguing that we should bring back the economy through spending. The very historical pattern James Livingston described in the program, the reliance on consumption as an engine of growth, has resulted in an economy in which consumption has outpaced our productive capacities. We do not face overproduction and underconsumption, but overconsumption and underproduction. It is a debt-driven economy. Solman raised the problem of debt, but only as a matter of government debt that could, theoretically, be resolved by economic growth increasing government revenues. Government debt is only part of our difficulty, though. Our economy has also become increasingly dependent on consumer debt, often subsidized by government debt. The kind of growth created by consumer debt is inherently unsustainable because it creates neither a present balance between production and consumption nor a plausible future balance between the two.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Creating, Promoting, and Enforcing" Opinions in the Marketplace of Ideas

Crystal Dixon
I was disappointed to read that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District has upheld the firing of Crystal Dixon from her position as interim vice president for human resources at the University of Toledo. Dixon, as I noted some time ago, was fired for publishing an opinion essay in the Toledo Free Press in which she argued that homosexuality should not be considered a civil rights issue.  Although Dixon wrote this as a private citizen and did not claim to represent the views of the university or even identify herself as a university official, the federal appeals court affirmed a lower court’s decision permitting her firing on the grounds that the opinions she expressed “contradicted the very policies she was charged with creating, promoting and enforcing.”
I find these very grounds for upholding the decision objectionable. Essentially, the court has not only ruled that a public university may declare some set of political and social opinions official doctrine, but that the university can charge administrators with promoting and enforcing the accepted way of thinking and require that those individuals conform in all public statements to the ideological program. Note that this is entirely different from saying that administrative employees should uphold policies by obeying laws or conducting themselves according to the rules of an institution, regardless of whether they agree with those laws or rules. This is saying that a university can designate someone as an enforcer of institutionally approved ideas and dictate what that person is and is not allowed to think (at least openly).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jonathan Israel’s Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750

By the end of the European middle ages, a Christianized version of Aristotelian philosophy had achieved the status of the official interpretation of the world and of the place of human beings in the world.  According to Aristotelian scholasticism, things are made up of matter and form. Form comes from an essence or soul within all things that also joins each form inseparably with its substance.  The essence of each thing also determines how it develops and interacts with other things. Scientific thinking, from the late middle ages through the early modern period, generally involved classifying and explaining things according to their innate qualities. This view of the world, with its emphasis on essences, was consistent with the idea of souls in Christian theology and with the idea the universe is purposeful, consisting of movement toward ends created by divine design. It was also consistent with the established political order, because political inequality among people was the result of placement decreed by God according to inborn essences.

By the seventeenth century, though, new trends in scientific and philosophical thinking began to pose challenges to Aristotelianism. A growing number of thinkers saw naturalistic and mechanistic explanations of events as more accurate than vague references to essences. From a mechanistic point of view, if something moves or changes, it is because something else causes it to move or change.  This kind of explanation posed a problem for religious thinkers in the seventeenth century and after.  God seemed to be left out of an account of the world that attributed every event to the interaction of bodies. In addition, there seemed to be no room for human thought or awareness in the machine of the universe.

French philosopher RenĂ© Descartes (1596-1650) came up with one ingenious and influential solution to the problems posed by mechanism. By carefully reflecting on his own thoughts, Descartes found that the world seemed to be divided into himself as a thinking being and the mechanistic objects outside of himself.  This managed to maintain both the supernatural and the scientific mechanisms of nature by splitting them apart.  The solution offered by Descartes was frequently viewed with suspicion by leaders of church and state, but there were still some radical thinkers, such as Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677) who went even further than Descartes and discarded the supernatural altogether.

Jonathan Israel argues, in this comprehensive and detailed volume, that the naturalistic radicals did not merely exist at the fringes of Enlightenment thinking. Although repeatedly denounced by church and state officials and frequently given only covert support even by their followers, the radicals played a central part in the creation of a modern view of the world.  The radicals made substantial contributions both to the naturalistic perspective of modern science and to democratizing trends in politics.

Earlier studies of the Enlightenment frequently approached the period as a matter of national politics. Insofar as these studies have understood the Enlightenment as a European occurrence, they have portrayed it as the projection of a single nation’s influence. Those who place France at the center of the events of the time have seen Europe revolving around the writings of the philosophes from Montesquieu to Rousseau.  Those in the English school have argued that the empiricism and materialistic philosophies of Locke, Newton, and their colleagues established the current of the era. Israel does acknowledge the importance of French thinkers, although he also maintains that the development of the French Enlightenment was hampered by the hostility of the court of King Louis XIV (ruled 1643-1715). Israel also recognizes that English thinking was widely influential, particularly during the “Anglomania,” the fashion for English ideas and styles that swept through European intellectual life in the 1730s and 1740s.  However, he sees the Enlightenment as a continental phenomenon, a set of challenges to received views and social hierarchies that arose in all parts of Europe and took varied forms in response to varied conditions.

 Insofar as Israel gives priority to any country in setting the pace of the times, he gives it to the Netherlands. This may, to some extent, be a matter of the author’s professional bias. He specializes in early Modern Dutch history and the academic’s inclination toward seeing his own field as the center of the world may have led him to emphasize the importance of things Dutch. Nevertheless, there are two reasons to accept his argument for Dutch centrality. First, the Dutch Republic was one of Europe’s two freest societies, along with England. Many of the books that more repressive governments attempted to censor and repress elsewhere in Europe were produced in the Netherlands. Second, the greatest intellectual radical of the seventeenth century, Spinoza, was Dutch. Spinoza was an enormously influential figure, who corresponded with Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716) and many of the other foremost thinkers of the time. Spinoza, also, according to Israel, was one of the foremost proponents of freedom of thought and expression in his age.

 Israel’s approach to the Enlightenment is topical rather than chronological. He begins by looking at developments that set the stage for philosophical radicalism. He considers the rise of Cartesianism and its reception by governments in Central Europe, in Scandinavia and the Baltic, and in the Italian states. He discusses the urban social milieu and the changing social institutions that fostered both political and philosophical radicalism. He also describes the relative emancipation of women (at least privileged women) that marked the beginning of the modern period.  These efforts at social history, while interesting, may be the weakest part of the book.  Israel never seems to make a convincing argument about just what urbanization or women’s increased participation had to do with philosophical radicalism, or to make it clear whether he sees social change as cause or consequence of new thinking. He also gives little attention to the great economic changes of the era, or to how shifts in popular mentalities may have been related to the ideas of intellectual elites. He is on much stronger ground when concentrating on more traditional concerns of intellectual history, and he gives good accounts of how the rise of diversified libraries and the circulation of learned journals assisted the spread of ideas.

In looking at the rise of philosophical roots of modernity, Israel makes his case for Spinoza’s central position. He describes some of the outstanding political and religious figures of the time, many of whom had personal ties to Spinoza. These included Spinoza’s teacher, Franciscus van den Enden (1602-1674), an ardent proponent of democratic republics who was hanged for conspiring against the French King Louis XIV; the brothers Johannes Koerbagh (1634-1672) and Adriaen Koerbagh (1632-1669), who were put on trial for expressing Spinozistic ideas in popular Dutch rather than scholarly Latin; and Lodwijk Meyer (1629-1681), who attempted to use a rationalistic philosophy to interpret Scripture. Israel looks at how Spinoza’s officially banned ideas spread throughout Europe, often secretly published and circulating in books with false title-pages.

 Israel places the major intellectual controversies in Europe that followed Spinoza’s death in the context of the rise of naturalistic ideas and he examines the reaction to radicalism in the early eighteenth century.  Finally, he discusses how the thoughts of the Radical Enlightenment made quiet progress throughout the nations of continental Europe and England up to 1750.  One of the most interesting sections of this last part of the book is in the chapter in which he looks at the radical impact in Italy.  The Italian philosopher of history Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) has been something of a cult figure among those interested in cyclical theories of history.  Twentieth century writer James Joyce is often said to have used Vico’s ideas as the basis for Finnegan’s Wake (1939).  Vico, who argued that human societies go through set phases determined by irrational human impulses, is generally seen as deeply conservative and anti-modern. Israel makes a good case for seeing Vico as influenced not only by Enlightenment ideas, but as directly influenced by Spinoza’s works.

 Israel also manages to show the pervasive influence of Spinoza on English deism. The deists accepted the existence of God, but saw little room for divine operation in the world, which they saw as functioning according to naturalistic processes of cause and effect. Although it is recognized that Spinoza corresponded with Henry Oldenburg (1620-1677), the secretary of the London Royal Society, historians often portray English and Irish intellectual life as largely isolated from continental Europe. Israel acknowledges that the English tended to be inward-looking and suspicious of foreign influences. Nevertheless, he points out that Spinoza’s ideas were widely debated in England and he identifies Spinoza’s impact on such English radicals as John Toland (1670-1722), Anthony Collins (1676-1729), Matthew Tindal (1657-1733), and Bernard Mandeville (1670-1730).  The English chemist Robert Boyle (1627-1691) discussed Spinoza’s ideas with Henry Oldenburg and the great English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) had all of Spinoza’s books in his library and may have met with followers of the Dutch radical.

 At the end, Israel moves beyond his historical period to look at the consequences of the Radical Enlightenment, in the form of the French Revolution. Most historians would regard this event as the defining moment of the beginning of the late modern world. Israel argues that the radical ideas of the mid-seventeenth century through the mid-eighteenth century helped to make the revolution, but that the revolution, in a sense, also helped to re-make those ideas. The revolutionaries and those opposed to them looked back at Spinoza and the other radicals and re-interpreted the thinking of those earlier philosophers. One of the consequences was that many of the early radicals were over-shadowed by the figure of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), who derived many of his ideas from the earlier philosophes, but who came to be seen as the chief intellectual symbol of the Revolution.

While it is loosely organized, and often skips abruptly from one topic to another, Radical Enlightenment is an impressive work of scholarship.  Erudite and expansive in its scope, the book provides an outstanding survey of trends in intellectual history during early modern times. It clarifies the connection between philosophical materialism and opposition to traditional political hierarchies. It also provides support for a new perspective on Spinoza’s role in the Enlightenment. In his recent biography, Spinoza: A Life, Stephen Nadler argued that the Dutch philosopher was not the social isolate that many have considered him, and that Spinoza was deeply involved in the intellectual networks of his day. Jonathan Israel has convincingly maintained that Spinoza was actually at the center of those networks, not only in the area around the Netherlands, but throughout Europe.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Response to Scott Cowen on Universities and the “Fiscal Cliff”

Scott Cowen
Scott Cowen, the president of my university, has an opinion piece on the “fiscal cliff” issue on the Huffington Post website. Among his other qualities, President Cowen is certainly indefatigable, and I can’t imagine where he finds the time in his breathtaking schedule to write editorials. As I read this one, I found that I agreed with parts of it and disagreed with others.
President Cowen essentially argues that technological innovation has been an essential part of the American economy since the Second World War, that much of this scientific and technological advancement has come out of universities, and that future prosperity depends on federal financial support for institutions and students. The U.S. President and Congress, accordingly, should adopt the bipartisan “collaborative approach” to problem solving recommended at the annual summit of the Bipartisan Policy Center, recently held at Tulane.
I agree that technological innovation has been a big part of American economic growth in recent decades. It should be acknowledged, though, the history of this growth has been a bit more complicated. At least since the 1970s, the growth of our economy has been fueled as much by the expansion of the financial sector as by the contributions of technology. Indeed, the two have been connected, since the emergence of new techniques and knowledge, most obviously in communication but also in areas such as pharmaceuticals, has stimulated the rush of investments into the American marketplace. An investment oriented economy has both concentrated wealth and produced a series of financial bubbles. So, I think part of our historic problem is that we have become too dependent on injecting innovative amphetamines into the national bloodstream rather than maintaining a slower but stable and healthy metabolism based on steady industrial productivity.
President Cowen cites the numerous technological contributions of our university to support the argument that universities are important for advancements in applied science. He is, of course, factually correct on these contributions. Moreover, acting as number one cheerleader for the university is part of his job and I’m happy, but not surprised, to see that he’s doing this. However, I think he may exaggerate the extent to which universities are immediately responsible for discoveries and inventions. It is certainly true that uneducated scientists would not be very effective, and universities are the places where they receive their specialized educations. But it is also true that much of late twentieth and early twenty-first century innovation has been created outside of academia, by industry and by maverick techno-entrepreneurs. It is not clear that technological change requires maintaining the government-academic complex at its current size and expense.
The impact of federal subsidies to higher education institutions and students is also open to question. As institutions have received more federal dollars, they have become dependent on the federal government. This means that government increasingly tends to steer research, to shape what should be done and how it should be done. Subsidies also tend to drive up the cost of higher education and are at least partially responsible for the dramatic rise in tuition costs.
Whether federal subsidies should go to students and, if so, in what form, are issues that cannot be answered simply by asserting, as President Cowen does, that “federal aid for students must remain a top priority for Congress and the president.” If that federal aid does drive up tuition costs, then it is to some extent self-defeating. Federal aid to students at present also comes in two forms: the out-right grant and the loan. The most common type of grant is the Pell Grant, a needs-based form of funding that gives no consideration to academic ability. Pell Grants tend to encourage college attendance by the under-prepared and thus water down the quality of college educations. These grants also usually do not cover all of the cost of education, so both low-income students and others rely heavily on loans. The “aid” then not only drives up tuition costs, it also helps to overproduce under-educated college graduates while creating heavy debt burdens.
On this last point, I agree completely that “educated workers are vital to long-term economic growth.” I don’t agree, though, that this necessarily means college educated workers. We still do need unskilled laborers (we are increasingly importing them), but many of the semi-skilled and skilled laborers required by our economy have the kinds of educations that people do not get in college. From a purely economic perspective, we don’t need to push more people into higher education; we need to enable more people to attend vocational and technical schools. Whether this should be done by federal initiative or by local efforts is a question for consideration and debate.
Finally, it is almost a truism that any efforts to deal with our current economic challenges will require bipartisan collaboration. I’m not sure that anyone has good ideas on exactly how to get to this collaboration.  But it would require returning to many of the practices that Americans have traditionally disliked about politics: compromises, horse-swapping, and backroom deal-making.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Deterministic Free Will of Daniel C. Dennett

Daniel C. Dennett

One of the greatest philosophical dilemmas posed by the development of the modern scientific view of the world concerns the place of human beings in this view. Scientific thinking is based on determinism, an understanding of all things as material objects linked in chains of causes and effects. Anything that happens must happen because something has caused it to happen. If human beings live inside such a chain, though, then all the things that people do are consequences of other events, such as environmental or biological occurrences.  To many thinkers, such a perspective implies that humans cannot choose to do anything because both their actions and the apparent choices behind these actions are determined.

One answer to the dilemma is to argue that people are in some way outside of any chain of causation. This was the strategy of René Descartes, who presented the non-human world in terms of the interactions of material objects, but who argued that human consciousness was a special kind of spiritual entity, influencing the objects but existing outside of them. Another answer is to simply accept that freedom is nothing but an illusion, and that all of our actions are nothing but results of the influences on us.

Both answers have problems. The response of Descartes is not supported by any evidence on the working of the brain and it is hard to see how a spiritual being could move a physical body. The anti-freedom response not only raises the question of how people can be held responsible for anything, it also seems to refute itself, because we would not be free to come to any meaningful conclusions about ourselves, including our own lack of freedom, if we were not the agents of our own thoughts. Both answers have also been criticized by philosopher Daniel C. Dennett. In Consciousness Explained (1990), he offered a detailed criticism of the Cartesian view of human consciousness. In Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting (1984), The Intentional Stance (1987), he defended ideas of choosing and goal-seeking. Dennett is a scientific materialist, though, and one who bases much of his own philosophical work on Darwinian evolution.  In Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life (1995), he described evolution as fundamental to the contemporary scientific perspective. Freedom Evolves (2003) attempted to bring together the ideas in these earlier works and I think we can take it as a summary of Dennett’s thinking on the free will problem.  Determinism, according to Dennett, is entirely consistent with the concept of free will, which he argues, somewhat paradoxically, is a result of evolutionary determinism.

Dennett maintains that determinism is often confused with inevitability. However, few events are inevitable in our complex world. Any present state of affairs may result in a variety of future states. Some natural entities, moreover, can obtain information from the environment to anticipate futures and to act in a way that is likely to lead to one future, rather than to others. According to Dennett, this proves that there can be such a thing as “evitability” in an entirely deterministic world. There are also random and therefore uncaused events that are still determined, such as the results of the flipping of coins.

Some philosophers have argued that freedom requires philosophical libertarianism, a point within the decision maker where the decision is undetermined. Dennett responds that we cannot identify this point and that freedom can be more readily identified as intentional responses to imperfectly predictable occurrences outside the decision maker. He then moves on to evolution and argues that being able to foresee possible outcomes and to respond to these can provide an evolutionary advantage to organisms. Further, beings that can respond by cooperating with each other have special advantages. Human culture, then, should be understood as a product of evolution.  Because culture consists of communication, the evolution of human culture gives rise to the emergence of pieces of communication that pass from person to person and survive or go extinct as genes survive or go extinct.  Drawing on evolutionary speculation about culture, Dennett refers to these pieces of communication as “memes.”  The moral ideas that guide choices about behavior are memes, patterns of thought that have been selected by environmental pressures.

The use of communication by human beings as a way of surviving together makes humans a special kind of animal in a way that is significant both for freedom and for moral responsibility. Dennett maintains that communication makes possible conscious thought as well as communication.  This is because language makes possible reflection. The social relations involved in communication through language entail imagining ourselves in the positions of others in order to predict what kinds of results when we communicate with them in different ways. This imagining means creating sets of social relations within ourselves (a view that those of us in the social sciences will immediately associate with George Herbert Mead). Therefore, to communicate effectively with others, we must be able to communicate with ourselves, or to be conscious. 

Because we are conscious, the rules that we have developed for cooperating with others are internalized.  This means that we do not follow the rules only when other people are looking and we do not follow the rules blindly. Moral ideas form part of our relations to ourselves, as well as part of our relations to other people. The fact that we consciously hold those ideas means that we reflect on them in communication with ourselves and in communication with other people.

Reflection on moral ideas, which are particular kinds of memes, result in what Dennett calls “benselfishness,” a word coined from the name of Benjamin Franklin, who famously advised the signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence that “we should all hang together, or, most assuredly, we will all hang separately.” “Benselfishness” is the realization that one’s own well-being is, in the long run, inseparable from the well-being of others. Dennett takes this as the basis of altruism, of concern for other people.

Human culture enables us to engage in “bootstrapping,” in raising ourselves to ever greater levels of freedom and responsibility. Our interactions with other people lead us to give our reasons for acting as we do and to reflect on our reasons. This means that we discuss our reasons both with others and with ourselves. Freedom, in Dennett’s view, does not depend on the absence of causal influences on us but on how we share ideas with each other in order to be led toward greater responsibility for our acts.

Although Dennett’s “deterministic free will” argument is deft, I do not find it convincing. Ultimately, in this author’s view, the threats to human freedom do not come from claims about the position of humans in a chain of causation, but from political and social sources. As we learn more about how human beings make decisions, he argues, we have the responsibility to devise systems of government that are consistent with scientific evidence on our nature. This conclusion, though, suggests that Dennett’s version of free will is simply putting a contemporary happyface on Comtean positivism. Scientific evidence has to be interpreted; and those who interpret it do so within their own set of moral predispositions. The experts too often eagerly represent their own social and political preferences as scientific truths.

One of the difficulties with Dennett’s argument concerns the idea of moral responsibility, a central aspect of freedom of choice. When one claims that an individual is responsible for making a choice, one is claiming not only that the individual can choose, but that there is a morally right choice and a morally wrong one, not just a useful way of acting from an evolutionary point of view. To say that humans have evolved to be altruistic to some extent is only to say that they frequently tend not to rob and kill one another for the sake of their own  long-term ends.  The evolutionary argument does not address the question of whether people should rob and kill each other, or even cheat on their spouses or income taxes, and it therefore gives us little help with the responsibility part of free will.  An explanation of human morality in terms of evolution may be able to provide an account of why morality exists, but it cannot provide a justification for specific moral beliefs.

Dennett does suggest that some moral ideas, such as egalitarian views of distributive justice, have a tendency to survive and spread among people.  He cites, as an example of moral evolution, a thought experiment in which people dividing up chocolate cakes gradually develop a fair-minded morality, in which they realize that each individual will get the most cake in the long run if the cakes are equally divided. This particular example may, however, only demonstrate the problem with using adaptability to an environment as a justification for moral principles. The strategy requires selecting a setting that will select the desired kind of morality. Very few real environments involve simply coming across cakes and deciding how to divide them up. It may be argued that all cakes must be made and that making them requires skill and dedication.  It looks as if Dennett has chosen his example of an environment based on the moral ideas he already values, a classic example of an expert presenting his own social and political perspective as a scientific truth.  Given the variation in environments, we cannot expect adaptation to them to lead us continually closer to an American professor’s preferred norms.

It is also debatable whether “evitability” and intentionality imply freedom, as Dennett suggests. An event may not be inevitable because the causes of it are too numerous and complex to allow us to predict the event. We cannot say that it is inevitable that it will rain on a given day next year because long-range weather conditions are notoriously unpredictable. Few people would say that this gives any amount of free choice to the clouds. Unpredictability is a limitation of the predictor, not a characteristic of the thing predicted. If we cannot predict the rain, or which side of a coin will be up after flipping, this is because we cannot obtain enough information. Probability is a matter of having incomplete information. The more information we have, the more an occurrence approaches certainty, or inevitability.

Even if evading an outcome or changing an outcome is a matter of purposive action on the basis of possibilities, this would not necessarily mean that either the action or the purpose were free. We can program a computer to weigh a variety of responses to a situation and to choose the response most likely to lead to a desired end. This means that we have a machine that is acting efficiently, not one that is acting freely. Making the machine much more complicated and giving it the power to incorporate previous actions and outcomes into its programming would improve both its efficiency and unpredictability, but the improvements would not push it toward greater levels of freedom.  .