I want to use two compatibilist tenets against each other: (1) that we should understand free will in a way resulting in free will being valuable and (2) that in determining whether an agent has free will, we should focus on what the agent would have done in counter-factual worlds.
Neither of these tenets is necessary to compatibilism, although I believe both are popular. In particular, I think Dennett has popularized both.
Of course, anti-realists about free will have challenged (1). In an underappreciated passage from the introduction to Living Without Free Will, Pereboom directly questioned Dennett’s insistence that free will is valuable. That is one way to attack the compatibilist position.
But there is another way to attack the compatibilist view. What if we humor the compatibilist? What if free will must be valuable? Does the compatibilist version of “free will” even satisfy that standard? In other words, are the varieties of free will that Dennett (and others) asserts are worth wanting really worth wanting?