The Philosophy of Free Will

The Philosophy of Free Will : Essential Readings from the Contemporary Debates

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The problem of free will is one of the great perennial issues of philosophy and has been discussed and debated over many centuries. The issues that arise in this sphere cover both metaphysics and morals and concern matters of central importance not only for philosophy but also for law, theology, psychology and the social sciences. What is at stake here is nothing less than our self-image as responsible moral agents who are in control of our own destiny and fate. The
investigations and findings of modern science are judged by many to put skeptical pressure on this self-image and may challenge its credibility. During the past few decades the free will controversy has developed and evolved in exciting and significant ways. All the major parties involved in this
debate have had to revise and amend their core positions with a view to responding to the sophisticated and searching arguments put forward by their critics and opponents.

The papers collected in this volume represent the most essential and indispensible contributions to the contemporary debate. The specific topics covered include: moral luck, skepticism and naturalism, the consequence argument, alternate possibilities, libertarian metaphysics, compatibilism and reason-responsive theories, illusionism and revisionism, optimism and pessimism, and the phenomenology of agency, as well as contributions relating to neuroscience and experimental philosophy. The
collection is arranged in a way that presents the topics covered in a structured and organized manner. The general aim is to provide an effective guide for students and readers who are new to the field, as well as a useful collection for those who are already familiar with the topics and contributions. The
contributors include many of the leading and most distinguished figures in the field, along with a number of younger scholars who have already had an impact and produced significant work.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 155 x 236 x 39mm | 722g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199733392
  • 9780199733392
  • 1,217,645

Table of contents

Introduction ; I. The Free Will Problem - Real or illusory? ; 1. Thomas Nagel - Moral Luck ; 2. Daniel Dennett - Please Don't Feed the Bugbears ; II. Naturalism Against Scepticism ; 3. P. F. Strawson - Freedom and Resentment ; 4. Gary Watson - Responsibility and the Limits of Evil: Variations on a Strawsonian Theme ; III. The Consequence Argument ; 5. Peter van Inwagen - The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism ; 6. Dana Nelkin - The Consequence Argument and the Mind Argument ; IV. Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities ; 7. Harry Frankfurt - Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility ; 8. Michael Otsuka - Incompatibilism and the Avoidability of Blame ; 9. Kadri Vihvelin - Free Will Demystified: A Dispositional Account ; V. Libertarian Alternatives - Soft and Hard ; 10. Robert Kane - Responsibility, Luck and Chance: Reflections on Free Will and Determinism ; 11. Randolph Clarke - Towards a Credible Agent-Causal Account of Free Will ; 12. Timothy O'Connor - Agent-Causal Power ; VI. Compatibilism: Hierarchical Theories and Manipulation Problems ; 13. Harry Frankfurt - Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person ; 14. Richard Double - Puppeteers, Hypnotists, and Neurosurgeons ; VII. Compatibilism: Reason-Based Alternatives ; 15. Susan Wolf - Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility ; 16. John M. Fischer - My Compatibilism ; VIII. Autonomy and History ; 17. John Christman - Autonomy and Personal History ; 18. Michael McKenna - Responsibility & Globally Manipulated Agents ; IX. Scepticism, Illusionism and Revisionism ; 19. Galen Strawson - The Impossibility of Ultimate Moral Responsibility ; 20. Saul Smilansky - Free Will: From Nature to Illusion ; 21. Manuel Vargas - How To Solve the Free Will Problem ; X. Optimism, Pessimism and their Modes ; 22. Derk Pereboom - Optimistic Skepticism about Free Will ; 23. Paul Russell - Compatibilist-Fatalism ; XI. The Phenomenology of Agency and Experimental Philosophy ; 24. Benjamin Libet - Do We have Free Will? ; 25. Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner - The Phenomenology of Free Will ; 26. Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe - Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions
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Review quote

The essays collected in this volume have made incredible contributions to the free will debate. It is remarkable to have so many influential works collected in this way, and anyone interested in the free will debate would benefit greatly from having this collection close at hand. * William Simkulet, Metapsychology Online Reviews *
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About Paul Russell

Paul Russell is Professor in Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. He has held research and teaching positions at several universities, including Cambridge; Virginia; Stanford; Pittsburgh; and North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His publications include Freedom and Moral Sentiment (1995) and The Riddle of Hume's Treatise (2008). In 2010 he was the Fowler Hamilton Visiting Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford.

Oisin Deery is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia.
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