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Free Will: A Guide for the Perplexed, 1st edition

  • T J Mawson
  • T J Mawson
Free Will: A Guide for the Perplexed

ISBN-13:  9781441102096


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In everyday life, we often suppose ourselves to be free to choose between several courses of action. But if we examine further, we find that this view seems to rest on metaphysical and meta-ethical presuppositions almost all of which look problematic. How can we be free if everything is determined by factors beyond our control, stretching back in time to the Big Bang and the laws of nature operating then? The only alternative to determinism is indeterminism, but is not indeterminism just there being a certain amount of randomness in the world? Does not randomness hinder you from being the author of your actions? Free Will: A Guide for the Perplexed looks at how much of the structure of our everyday judgments can survive the arguments behind such questions and thoughts. In doing so, it explores the alternative arguments that have been advanced concerning free will and related notions, including an up-to-date overview of the contemporary debates. In essence, the book seeks to understand and answer the age-old question, 'What is free will and do we have it?'

Table of contents

Acknowledgements 1. Introduction What is the problem of free will? 2. Our Experience of Choice What our everyday experience suggests about the existence and nature of free will 3. Incompatibilism Some classic and some modern arguments for and against the view that we can't have free will if we live in a deterministic universe 4. Indeterminism Whether we have reason to suppose our universe is deterministic; whether we have reason to suppose it is not; or whether we don't have reason either way 5. Ultimate Authorship How we might be the ultimate authors of our actions 6. Conclusion How we are as we supposed ourselves to be Glossary Further Reading Notes

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Published by Continuum (January 20th 2011) - Copyright © 2011