Read Freedom and Belief by Galen Strawson Online

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This is a revised and updated edition of Galen Strawson's groundbreaking first book, where he argues that there is a fundamental sense in which there is no such thing as free will or true moral responsibility (as this is ordinarily understood). This conclusion is very hard to accept. On the whole we continue to believe firmly both that we have free will and that we are truThis is a revised and updated edition of Galen Strawson's groundbreaking first book, where he argues that there is a fundamental sense in which there is no such thing as free will or true moral responsibility (as this is ordinarily understood). This conclusion is very hard to accept. On the whole we continue to believe firmly both that we have free will and that we are truly morally responsible for what we do. Strawson devotes much of the book to an attempt to explain why this is so. He examines various aspects of the 'cognitive phenomenology' of freedom - the nature, causes, and consequences of our deep commitment to belief in freedom. In particular, he considers at length a number of problems that are raised by the suggestion that, if freedom were possible, believing oneself to be a free agent would be a necessary condition of being a free agent....

Title : Freedom and Belief
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ISBN : 9780199247493
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 324 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Freedom and Belief Reviews

  • Neal Alexander
    2019-05-01 23:08

    “You can do as you please, but you can’t please as you please”: Bertrand Russell’s less formal version of Strawson’s argument for the impossibility of free will. I expected a book-length exposition of this argument but in fact it’s wrapped up early on as a jumping-off point for why and how we nevertheless find it hard to discount free will when dealing with ourselves and others, e.g. we carry on blaming and congratulating. The book starts with a taxonomy of positions on free will and determinism, of which many come under ‘compatibilism’ which denies (surprisingly perhaps) that free will and determinism are contradictory. It's surprisingly readable given its impressive subtlety and erudition. The thought experiments are ingenious although their premises are sometimes hard to take seriously, such as the ‘natural Epictetans’ to whom it never occurs to do anything other then the best of a congenial set of options. It also seems dubious to use animals as entities lacking the kind of responsibility we ascribe to ourselves: we punish dogs, for example. My explanation for the difficulty in renouncing free will is its utility (or the utility of sensing it, even if illusorily) in functioning as social animals: for example, I doubt peer pressure could exist without it.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-18 23:13

    One of the most difficult books I've ever read: difficult not because I didn't understand it, but rather because I did.