Search results for: free-will-explained

Free Will Explained

Author : Dan Barker
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Do we have free will? And if we don't, why do we feel as if we do? Popular author Dan Barker examines the way we make choices in this world through his original concept of "harmonic free will" a philosophy that acknowledges both the impersonal laws of cause and effect that govern our world, as well as our own independent volition--without ever seeing these two perspectives as contradictory.

Free Will

Author : Sam Harris
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A BELIEF IN FREE WILL touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion. In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or diminish the importance of social and political freedom, but it can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life.

Free Will

Author : Meghan Griffith
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The question of whether humans are free to make their own decisions has long been debated and it continues to be a controversial topic today. In Free Will: The Basics readers are provided with a clear and accessible introduction to this central but challenging philosophical problem. The questions which are discussed include: Does free will exist? Or is it illusory? Can we be free even if everything is determined by a chain of causes? If our actions are not determined, does this mean they are just random or a matter of luck? In order to have the kind of freedom required for moral responsibility, must we have alternatives? What can recent developments in science tell us about the existence of free will? Because these questions are discussed without prejudicing one view over others and all technical terminology is clearly explained, this book is an ideal introduction to free will for the uninitiated.

Free Will and Action Explanation

Author : Scott Sehon
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Do we have free will and moral responsibility? Is free will compatible with determinism? Scott Sehon argues that we can make progress on these questions by focusing on an underlying issue: the nature of action explanation. When a person acts, or does something on purpose, we explain the behavior by citing the agent's reasons. The dominant view in philosophy of mind has been to construe such explanations as a species of causal explanation. Part I of the book proposes and defends a non-causal account of action and agency, according to which reason explanation of human behavior is irreducibly teleological rather than causal. Part II applies the teleological account of action to free will and responsibility, arguing that the free actions—the ones for which we are directly responsible—are the goal-directed actions, the actions that are teleologically explicable in terms of our reasons. It is then argued that this non-causal account of action undermines the appeal of incompatibilist arguments, arguments attempting to show that free will is not compatible with determinism. Beyond this, Sehon argues that the non-causal compatibilist account works well in practice: it is in accord with our clear intuitions about cases, and it both explains and provides guidance in the cases where our intuitions are murkier.

Free Will Consciousness and Self

Author : Preben Bertelsen
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What is it to be human? How do we relate to the world, to each other and to our self in a human - in everyday life and when faced with life's big questions? In this book, the author develops a general theoretical model that might be able to offer a better understanding of the human condition and of the underlying principles of human behavior. The author shows that general psychology, bridging the natural sciences and the social sciences, can make a significant contribution to a general anthropology.

Free Will and Consciousness

Author : Roy Baumeister
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This volume is aimed at readers who wish to move beyond debates about the existence of free will and the efficacy of consciousness and closer to appreciating how free will and consciousness might operate. It draws from philosophy and psychology, the two fields that have grappled most fundamentally with these issues. In this wide-ranging volume, the contributors explore such issues as how free will is connected to rational choice, planning, and self-control; roles for consciousness in decision making; the nature and power of conscious deciding; connections among free will, consciousness, and quantum mechanics; why free will and consciousness might have evolved; how consciousness develops in individuals; the experience of free will; effects on behavior of the belief that free will is an illusion; and connections between free will and moral responsibility in lay thinking. Collectively, these state-of-the-art chapters by accomplished psychologists and philosophers provide a glimpse into the future of research on free will and consciousness.

Why Free Will Is Real

Author : Christian List
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Many scientists and scientifically-minded philosophers are skeptical that free will exists. In clear, scientifically rigorous terms, Christian List explains that free will is like other real phenomena that emerge from physical laws but are autonomous from them—like an ecosystem or the economy—and are indispensable for explaining our world.

Elbow Room new edition

Author : Daniel C. Dennett
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A landmark book in the debate over free will that makes the case for compatibilism. In this landmark 1984 work on free will, Daniel Dennett makes a case for compatibilism. His aim, as he writes in the preface to this new edition, was a cleanup job, “saving everything that mattered about the everyday concept of free will, while jettisoning the impediments.” In Elbow Room, Dennett argues that the varieties of free will worth wanting—those that underwrite moral and artistic responsibility—are not threatened by advances in science but distinguished, explained, and justified in detail. Dennett tackles the question of free will in a highly original and witty manner, drawing on the theories and concepts of fields that range from physics and evolutionary biology to engineering, automata theory, and artificial intelligence. He shows how the classical formulations of the problem in philosophy depend on misuses of imagination, and he disentangles the philosophical problems of real interest from the “family of anxieties” in which they are often enmeshed—imaginary agents and bogeymen, including the Peremptory Puppeteer, the Nefarious Neurosurgeon, and the Cosmic Child Whose Dolls We Are. Putting sociobiology in its rightful place, he concludes that we can have free will and science too. He explores reason, control and self-control, the meaning of “can” and “could have done otherwise,” responsibility and punishment, and why we would want free will in the first place. A fresh reading of Dennett's book shows how much it can still contribute to current discussions of free will. This edition includes as its afterword Dennett's 2012 Erasmus Prize essay.

Rationality Consciousness Free Will

Author : David Hodgson
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In recent years, philosophical discussions of free will have focused largely on whether or not free will is compatible with determinism. In this challenging book, David Hodgson takes a fresh approach to the question of free will, contending that close consideration of human rationality and human consciousness shows that together they give us free will, in a robust and indeterministic sense. In particular, they give us the capacity to respond appositely to feature-rich gestalts of conscious experiences, in ways that are not wholly determined by laws of nature or computational rules. The author contends that this approach is consistent with what science tells us about the world; and he considers its implications for our responsibility for our own conduct, for the role of retribution in criminal punishment, and for the place of human beings in the wider scheme of things. Praise for David Hodgson's previous work, The Mind Matters "magisterial...It is balanced, extraordinarily thorough and scrupulously fair-minded; and it is written in clear, straightforward, accessible prose." --Michael Lockwood, Times Literary Supplement "an excellent contribution to the literature. It is well written, authoritative, and wonderfully wide-ranging. ... This account of quantum theory ... will surely be of great value. ... On the front cover of the paper edition of this book Paul Davies is quoted as saying that this is "a truly splendid and provocative book". In writing this review I have allowed myself to be provoked, but I am happy to close by giving my endorsement to this verdict in its entirety!" --Euan Squires, Journal of Consciousness Studies "well argued and extremely important book." --Sheena Meredith, New Scientist "His reconstructions and explanations are always concise and clear." --Jeffrey A Barrett, The Philosophical Review "In this large-scale and ambitious work Hodgson attacks a modern orthodoxy. Both its proponents and its opponents will find it compelling reading." --J. R. Lucas, Merton College, Oxford

Atheism Explained

Author : David Ramsay Steele
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"Explains and evaluates the principal rationale for and against belief in God, and argues in favor of atheism"--Provided by publisher.

Just Deserts

Author : Daniel C. Dennett
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Some thinkers argue that our best scientific theories about the world prove that free will is an illusion. Others disagree. The concept of free will is profoundly important to our self-understanding, our interpersonal relationships, and our moral and legal practices. If it turns out that no one is ever free and morally responsible, what would that mean for society, morality, meaning, and the law? Just Deserts brings together two philosophers – Daniel C. Dennett and Gregg D. Caruso – to debate their respective views on free will, moral responsibility, and legal punishment. In three extended conversations, Dennett and Caruso present their arguments for and against the existence of free will and debate their implications. Dennett argues that the kind of free will required for moral responsibility is compatible with determinism – for him, self-control is key; we are not responsible for becoming responsible, but are responsible for staying responsible, for keeping would-be puppeteers at bay. Caruso takes the opposite view, arguing that who we are and what we do is ultimately the result of factors beyond our control, and because of this we are never morally responsible for our actions in the sense that would make us truly deserving of blame and praise, punishment and reward. These two leading thinkers introduce the concepts central to the debate about free will and moral responsibility by way of an entertaining, rigorous and sometimes heated philosophical dialogue. What emerges is a clear account of the latest thinking on free will, and what is at stake for our moral and legal practices.

Freedom of the Will

Author : Ferenc Huoranszki
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Freedom of the Will provides a novel interpretation of G. E. Moore’s famous conditional analysis of free will and discusses several questions about the meaning of free will and its significance for moral responsibility. Although Moore’ theory has a strong initial appeal, most metaphysicians believe that there are conclusive arguments against it. Huoranszki argues that the importance of conditional analysis must be reevaluated in light of some recent developments in the theory of dispositions. The original analysis can be amended so that the revised conditional account is not only a good response to determinist worries about the possibility of free will, but it can also explain the sense in which free will is an important condition of moral responsibility. This study addresses three fundamental issues about free will as a metaphysical condition of responsibility. First, the book explains why agents are responsible for their actions or omissions only if they have the ability to do otherwise and shows that the relevant ability is best captured by the revised conditional analysis. Second, it aims to clarify the relation between agents’ free will and their rational capacities. It argues that free will as a condition of responsibility must be understood in terms of agents’ ability to do otherwise rather than in terms of their capacity to respond to reasons. Finally, the book explains in which sense responsibility requires self-determination and argues that it is compatible with agents’ limited capacity to control their own character, reasons, and motives.

Free Will A Very Short Introduction

Author : Thomas Pink
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Every day we seem to make and act upon all kinds of free choices - some of them trivial, and some so consequential that they may change the course of our life, or even the course of history. But are these choices really free? Or are we compelled to act the way we do by factors beyond our control? Is the feeling that we could have made different decisions just an illusion? And if our choices are not free, why should we be held morally responsible for our actions? This Very Short Introduction, written by a leading authority on the subject, looks at a range of issues surrounding this fundamental philosophical question, exploring it from the ideas of the Greek and medieval philosophers through to the thoughts of present-day thinkers. It provides a interesting and incisive introduction to this perennially fascinating subject. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Causes Laws and Free Will

Author : Kadri Vihvelin
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This book rescues compatibilists from the familiar charge of 'quagmire of evasion' by arguing that the problem of free will and determinism is a metaphysical problem with a metaphysical solution. There is no good reason to think that determinism would rob us of the free will we think we have.

Free Will and Continental Philosophy

Author : David Edward Rose
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Free Will and Continental Philosophy explores the concepts of free-will and self-determination in the Continental philosophical tradition. David Rose examines the ways in which Continental philosophy offers a viable alternative to the hegemonic scientistic approach taken by analytic philosophy. Rose claims that the problem of free-will is only a problem if one makes an unnecessary assumption consistent with scientific rationalism. In the sphere of human action we assume that, since action is a physical event, it must be reducible to the laws and concepts of science. Hence, the problematic nature of free will raises its head, since the concept of free will is intrinsically contradictory to such a reductionist outlook. This book suggests that the Continental thinkers offer a compelling alternative by concentrating on the phenomena of human action and self-determination in order to offer the truth of freedom in different terms. Thus Rose offers a revealing investigation into the appropriate concepts and categories of human freedom and action.

How Free Will Works

Author : Steven M. Duncan
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In How Free Will Works, Steven M. Duncan provides not merely discussions of, but potential answers to two of the most vexed questions discussed by philosophers concerning free choice. First, supposing that the mind and the body are separate substances of opposed natures, how is it possible for them to interact such that an entirely non-physical immanent mental act can give rise to changes in the external world? Second, supposing that there is free will, how is it possible for our acts of volition/free choice to be neither causally determined nor merely chance/random events? This book spells out a new way of envisaging the mind/body relation and the nature of mind/body causal interaction that avoids the traditional interaction problem. It also explains how it is possible for free choice neither to require an efficient cause nor to act as an efficient cause while nevertheless affecting the processes in the physical world through which intentional action is realized in human behavior. In the second half of the book, the theory developed in the first part of the book is applied to the difficult issues arising from the Christian doctrine of salvation: sin, grace, and redemption.

Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought

Author : Maria De Cillis
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The subject of "human free-will" versus "divine predestination" is one of the most contentious topics in classical Islamic thought. By focusing on a theme of central importance to any philosophy of religion, and to Islam in particular, this book offers a critical study of the intellectual contributions offered to this discourse by three key medieval Islamic thinkers: Avicenna, al-Ghāzālī and Ibn ʿArabī. Through investigation of primary sources, Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought establishes the historical, political and intellectual circumstances which prompted Avicenna, al-Ghāzālī and Ibn ʿArabī’s attempts at harmonization. By analysing the theoretical and linguistic ‘techniques’ which were employed to convey these endeavours, this book demonstrates that the three individuals were committed to compromise between philosophical, theological and mystical outlooks. Arguing that the three scholars’ treatments of the so-called qaḍā wa’l-qadar (decree and destiny) and ikhtiyār (free-will) issues were innovative, influential and fundamentally more complex than hitherto recognized, this book contributes to a fuller understanding of Islamic intellectual history and culture and will be useful to researchers interested in Islamic Studies, Religion and Islamic Mysticism.

Libertarian Accounts of Free Will

Author : Randolph K. Clarke
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This text examines free will in the context of determinism on the one hand, and the notion that this choice may in fact be random and arbitrary on the other.

Free Will 2nd Edition

Author : Kevin Timpe
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A comprehensive and accessible introduction to contemporary debates on free will.

Free Will

Author : Nicholas Rescher
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This volume is a reassessment of free will and, as such, seeks to answer the question: Do humans ever act under the guidance of the will? To determine if humans have free will, Rescher first examines what exactly free will is and how it should function. While the literature on the subject of free will is vast, a good deal still remains to be done to avert obscurity and confusion. Rescher leads the reader through a conceptual web of distinctions that, taken together, provide a satisfying contribution to philosophical thought on free will in general. Rescher sharpens his highly conceptual assessment by making distinctions--between productive (or metaphysical) and moral (or motivational) freedom, free decision and free action, motivational and causal determination of choices, durational events and the instantaneous eventuations that mark their commencements and completions, and between pre-determination and precedence determination. In doing so, he also examines the role of nature, nurture, and free choice. Each of these distinctions defines the characteristics of free will and averts a group of problems and difficulties traditionally ascribed to the doctrine. With these in place, it becomes possible to validate the compatibility between freedom of the will and a certain special mode of determinism. Rescher's conceptual perspective in this age-old debate opens up the prospect of naturalizing free volition through its natural emergence via the same process of evoking development that has seen the emergence of intelligence on the world's stage. That is, only after the conceptual issues are settled, can the question of how things actually stand be answered. This work will be an important reassessment of free will not just because of the author's final conclusion, but because of the issue-illuminating path he takes to get there.