Description : If the mind and the world are entirely governed by natural laws, there seems to be no room left for free will to operate. In this BIT, Steven Horst offers an account of laws that is compatible with claims for libertarian free will. He argues that one can embrace the truth of individual laws, or indeed any set of such laws, without any implication of determinism, because the idealization conditions of each law are essentially open-ended.
Description : An account of scientific laws that vindicates the status of psychological laws and shows natural laws to be compatible with free will. In Laws, Mind, and Free Will, Steven Horst addresses the apparent dissonance between the picture of the natural world that arises from the sciences and our understanding of ourselves as agents who think and act. If the mind and the world are entirely governed by natural laws, there seems to be no room left for free will to operate. Moreover, although the laws of physical science are clear and verifiable, the sciences of the mind seem to yield only rough generalizations rather than universal laws of nature. Horst argues that these two familiar problems in philosophy--the apparent tension between free will and natural law and the absence of "strict" laws in the sciences of the mind--are artifacts of a particular philosophical thesis about the nature of laws: that laws make claims about how objects actually behave. Horst argues against this Empiricist orthodoxy and proposes an alternative account of laws--an account rooted in a cognitivist approach to philosophy of science. Horst argues that once we abandon the Empiricist misunderstandings of the nature of laws there is no contrast between "strict" laws and generalizations about the mind ("ceteris paribus" laws, laws hedged by the caveat "other things being equal"), and that a commitment to laws is compatible with a commitment to the existence of free will. Horst's alternative account, which he calls "cognitive Pluralism," vindicates the truth of psychological laws and resolves the tension between human freedom and the sciences.
Description : 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.
Description : Richard Swinburne presents a powerful case for substance dualism and libertarian free will. He argues that pure mental and physical events are distinct, and defends an account of agent causation in which the soul can act independently of bodily causes. We are responsible for our actions, and the findings of neuroscience cannot prove otherwise.
Description : We are living in two worlds: the physical world of matter, forces, and motions and the mental world of ideas, impressions, and emotions. The aim of this books ten essays is to explore the world of the mind. It is a world claimed to be supernatural, but rational justifications, supported by scientific investigations, demonstrate that it is of our natural world. Once the mind is rationally explained in terms of the brains functionalities, then it becomes possible to answer far-reaching existential questions: Why do I exist? What is life? What happens when I die? Be warned: this book isnt an easy read. Each essay is a step upward into the unfamiliar and unconventional, requiring effort, patience, and above all a mind that tolerates the extraordinary.
Description : What is the place of human free will in our lives if all our actions are the result of some other cause? Does our processing unconscious beliefs or desires make us less free? Is our free will necessarily restricted if we do not choose our own beliefs? The debate between free will and its opposing doctrine, determinism, is one of the key issues in philosophy. Free Will: An historical and philosophical introduction provides a comprehensive introduction to this highly important question and examines the contributions made by sixteen of the most outstanding thinkers from the time of early Greece to the twentieth century: *Homer *Sophocles *Platto *Aristotle *St Augustine *St Thomas Aquinas *Descaartes *Spinoza *Hume *Kant *Schopehauer *Freud *Sartre *Weil *Wittgenstein *Moore Ilham Dilman brings together all the dimensions of the problem of free will with examples from literature, ethics and psychoanalysis. Drawing out valuable insights from both sides of the free will-determinism divide, and he provides an accessible and highly readable introduction to this perennial problem.
Description : Focusing on the concepts and interactions of free will, moralresponsibility, and determinism, this text represents the mostup-to-date account of the four major positions in the free willdebate. Four serious and well-known philosophers explore the opposingviewpoints of libertarianism, compatibilism, hard incompatibilism,and revisionism The first half of the book contains each philosopher’sexplanation of his particular view; the second half allows them todirectly respond to each other’s arguments, in a lively andengaging conversation Offers the reader a one of a kind, interactive discussion Forms part of the acclaimed Great Debates in Philosophyseries
Description : It is widely accepted in science that the universe is a closed deterministic system in which everything can, ultimately, be explained by purely physical causation. And yet we all experience ourselves as having the freedom to choose between alternatives presented to us -- 'we' are in the driving seat. The puzzling status of volition is explored in this issue by a distinguished body of scientists and philosophers.
Description : The prevailing orthodoxy in brain science is that since physical laws govern our physical brains, physical laws therefore govern our behaviour and even our conscious selves. Free will is meaningless, goes the mantra; we live in a 'determined' world. Not so, argues the renowned neuroscientist Michael S. Gazzaniga as he explains how the mind, 'constrains' the brain just as cars are constrained by the traffic they create. Writing with what Steven Pinker has called 'his trademark wit and lack of pretension,' Gazzaniga ranges across neuroscience, psychology and ethics to show how incorrect it is to blame our brains for our behaviour. Even given the latest insights into the physical mechanisms of the mind, he explains, we are responsible agents who should be held accountable for our actions, because responsibility is found in how people interact, not in brains. An extraordinary book, combining a light touch with profound implications, Who's in Charge? is a lasting contribution from one of the leading thinkers of our time.
Description : 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