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Summary This category collects papers that do not fit, or do not wholly fit, under other free will and science headings. One particular focus is the evolution of free will. Some philosophers have argued that our powers of self-control are best understood as evolved powers, and that these powers are sufficient for free will (e.g. Dennett 2003); others that free will is an adaptive illusion.
Key works Dennett 2003
Introductions Mele 2011
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  1. Mark Balaguer (2009). Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem. A Bradford Book.
    In this largely antimetaphysical treatment of free will and determinism, Mark Balaguer argues that the philosophical problem of free will boils down to an open scientific question about the causal histories of certain kinds of neural events. In the course of his argument, Balaguer provides a naturalistic defense of the libertarian view of free will. The metaphysical component of the problem of free will, Balaguer argues, essentially boils down to the question of whether humans possess libertarian free will. Furthermore, he (...)
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  2. Rebecca Bamford & Mark D. Tschaepe (2011). Biophysical Models of Human Behavior: Is There a Place for Logic. American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 2 (3):70-72.
    We present a two-pronged criticism of Ramos's argument. Our main contention is that the logic of the author’s argument is flawed. As we demonstrate, the author conflates probability with necessity, in addition to conflating free will having causal efficacy with the merely illusory conscious experience of free will; such conflations undermine the claim that individual free will should be both exhibited on a social scale and necessarily cause a particular organized pattern to emerge. In addition, we will show that the (...)
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  3. Ansgar Beckermann (2003). Would Biological Determinism Rule Out the Possibility of Freedom? In Andreas Hüttemann (ed.), Determinism in Physics and Biology. Mentis 136--149.
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  4. Gregg Caruso (2015). Kane is Not Able: A Reply to Vicens' 'Self-Forming Actions and Conflicts of Intention'. Southwest Philosophy Review 31 (2):21-26.
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  5. Gregg Caruso (2015). Kane is Not Able: A Reply to Vicens' 'Self-Forming Actions and Conflicts of Intention'. Southwest Philosophy Review 31 (2):21-26.
  6. Gregg Caruso (2014). (Un)Just Deserts: The Dark Side of Moral Responsibility. Southwest Philosophy Review 30 (1):27-38.
    What would be the consequence of embracing skepticism about free will and/or desert-based moral responsibility? What if we came to disbelieve in moral responsibility? What would this mean for our interpersonal relationships, society, morality, meaning, and the law? What would it do to our standing as human beings? Would it cause nihilism and despair as some maintain? Or perhaps increase anti-social behavior as some recent studies have suggested (Vohs and Schooler 2008; Baumeister, Masicampo, and DeWall 2009)? Or would it rather (...)
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  7. Gregg Caruso (2013). Free Will and Consciousness: A Determinist Account of the Illusion of Free Will. Lexington Books.
    This book argues two main things: The first is that there is no such thing as free will—at least not in the sense most ordinary folk take to be central or fundamental; the second is that the strong and pervasive belief in free will can be accounted for through a careful analysis of our phenomenology and a proper theoretical understanding of consciousness.
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  8. Gregg Caruso (2012). Free Will and Consciousness: A Determinist Account of the Illusion of Free Will. Lexington Books.
    In recent decades, with advances in the behavioral, cognitive, and neurosciences, the idea that patterns of human behavior may ultimately be due to factors beyond our conscious control has increasingly gained traction and renewed interest in the age-old problem of free will. In this book I examine both the traditional philosophical problems long associated with the question of free will, such as the relationship between determinism and free will, as well as recent experimental and theoretical work directly related to consciousness (...)
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  9. Martin Davidson (1937). Free Will or Determinism. London, Watts & Co..
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  10. Daniel Dennett (2005). Natural Freedom. Metaphilosophy 36 (4):449-459.
    Dearly beloved, I want to thank Brother Tim O’Connor for his candid reactions to my published sermons this Sunday morning, and I welcome you all, in the spirit of ecumenicism, to the Church of Fundamentalist Naturalism. Before the collection plate is passed, let me tell you a bit more about the Church. Our symbol is of course the Darwin-fish, the four-legged evolver that echoes the ancient fish symbol of Christianity. I was wearing my Darwin-fish lapel pin at an evolutionary theory (...)
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  11. Daniel C. Dennett (2005). Natural Freedom. Metaphilosophy 36 (4):449-458.
    Three critics of Freedom Evolves (Dennett 2003) bring out important differences in philosophical outlook and method. Mele’s thought experiments are supposed to expose the importance, for autonomy, of personal history, but they depend on the dubious invocation of mere logical or conceptual possibility. Fischer defends the Basic Argument for incompatibilism, while Taylor and I choose to sidestep it instead of disposing of it. Where does the burden of proof lie? O’Connor’s candid expression of allegiance to traditional ideas that I (...)
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  12. Daniel Clement Dennett (2003). Freedom Evolves. Viking.
    Daniel C. Dennett is a brilliant polemicist, famous for challenging unexamined orthodoxies. Over the last thirty years, he has played a major role in expanding our understanding of consciousness, developmental psychology, and evolutionary theory. And with such groundbreaking, critically acclaimed books as Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea (a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist), he has reached a huge general and professional audience. In this new book, Dennett shows that evolution is the key to resolving the ancient problems (...)
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  13. Jasper Doomen (2005). Review of D. Dennett, Freedom Evolves. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):295-298.
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  14. Solomon Feferman (2011). Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, Free Will and Mathematical Thought. In Richard Swinburne (ed.), Free Will and Modern Science. OUP/British Academy
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  15. Mark Fisher (1983). A Note on Free Will and Artificial Intelligence. Philosophia 13 (September):75-80.
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  16. Susan T. Gardner (2008). Agitating for Munificence or Going Out of Business. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 3:21-29.
    If you cannot, then you ought not. Taking its own precepts seriously, philosophy, in the face of scientific deterministic success, has abandoned its original calling of inspiring munificence and, in doing so, has undercut much of its own relevance. But this need not be the case. If we adopt a more finely grained set of theoretical glasses, we will see that human freedom is simply the icing on a deterministic layer cake that launches entities, both phylogenetically and ontogenetically, from the (...)
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  17. P. Hájı´Ček (2009). Free Will as Relative Freedom with Conscious Component. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):103-109.
    The general notion of relative freedom is introduced. It is a kind of freedom that is observed everywhere in nature. In biology, incomplete knowledge is defined for all organisms. They cope with the problem by Popper’s trial-and-error processes. One source of their success is the relative freedom of choice from the basic option ranges: mutations, motions and neuron connections. After the conjecture is adopted that communicability can be used as a criterion of consciousness, free will is defined as a conscious (...)
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  18. David J. Hanson (1970). Science, Determinism and Free Will. Journal of Social Research 13 (March):49-54.
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  19. Gary Hatfield (2005). Force and Mind–Body Interaction. In Juan Jose Saldana (ed.), Science and Cultural Diversity: Proceedings of the XXIst International Congress of the History of Science. Autonomous National University of Mexico 3074-3089.
    This article calls into question the notion that seventeenth-century authors such as Descartes and Leibniz straightforwardly conceived the mind as something "outside" nature. Descartes indeed did regard matter as distinct from mind, but the question then remains as to whether he equated the natural world, and the world of laws of nature, with the material world. Similarly, Leibniz distinguished a kingdom of final causes (pertaining to souls) and a kingdom of efficient causes (pertaining to bodies and motions), but the question (...)
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  20. Steven Horst (2011). Laws, Mind, and Free Will. MIT Press.
    Since the seventeenth century, our understanding of the natural world has been one of phenomena that behave in accordance with natural laws. While other elements of the early modern scientific worldview may be rejected or at least held in question—the metaphor of the world as a great machine, the narrowly mechanist assumption that all physical interactions must be contact interactions, the idea that matter might actually be obeying rules laid down by its Divine Author – the notion of natural law (...)
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  21. John A. Humbach, Free Will Ideology: Experiments, Evolution and Virtue Ethics.
  22. Peter Inwagen (1972). Lehrer on Determinism, Free Will, and Evidence. Philosophical Studies 23 (5):351 - 357.
  23. Mathew Iredale (2012). The Problem of Free Will: A Contemporary Introduction. Acumen.
    The book explores what it is about the free will problem that makes it so intractable and argues that the only acceptable solution must be one consistent with what science tells us about the world. It is here, maintains Iredale, that many works on free will, introductory or otherwise, fall down, by focusing only on how free will relates to determinism. He shows that there are clear areas of scientific research which are directly and significantly relevant to free will in (...)
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  24. Stephen Kearns (2013). Review of "Free Will and Modern Science". [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  25. John Lemos (2002). Evolution and Free Will: A Defense of Darwinian Non-Naturalism. Metaphilosophy 33 (4):468-482.
    In his recent book The Natural Selection of Autonomy, Bruce Waller defends a view that he calls “natural autonomy.” This view holds that human beings possess a kind of autonomy that we share with nonhuman animals, a capacity to explore alternative courses of action, but an autonomy that cannot support moral responsibility. He also argues that this natural autonomy can provide support for the ethical principle of noninterference. I argue that to support the ethical principle of noninterference Waller needs either (...)
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  26. J. R. Lucas (2011). Feferman on Gödel and Free Will : A Response to Chapter 6. In Richard Swinburne (ed.), Free Will and Modern Science. OUP/British Academy
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  27. Matteo Mameli (2003). On Dennett and the Natural Sciences of Free Will. Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):731-742.
    _Freedom Evolves _is an ambitious book. The aim is to show that free will is compatible with what physics, biology and the neurosciences tell us about the way we function and that, moreover, these sciences can help us clarify and vindicate the most important aspects of the common-sense conception of free will, those aspects that play a fundamental role in the way we live our lives and in the way we organize our society.
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  28. Nicholas Maxwell (2005). Science Versus Realization of Value, Not Determinism Versus Choice. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (1):53-58.
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  29. Nicholas Maxwell (2001). The Human World in the Physical Universe: Consciousness, Free Will and Evolution. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
    This book tackles the problem of how we can understand our human world embedded in the physical universe in such a way that justice is done both to the richness..
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  30. Alfred Mele (forthcoming). Free Will and Substance Dualism: The Real Scientific Threat to Free Will? In W. Sinnot-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, Vol. 4: Free Will and Responsibility. MIT Press
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  31. Alfred Mele (forthcoming). Vetoing and Consciousness. In T. Vierkant, J. Kiverstein & A. Clark (eds.), Decomposing the Will. Oxford University Press
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  32. Alfred Mele (2012). Another Scientific Threat to Free Will? The Monist 95 (3):422-440.
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  33. Alfred Mele (2011). Free Will and Science. In R. Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Free Will, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press
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  34. Alfred Mele (2010). Scientific Skepticism About Free Will. In T. Nadelhoffer, E. Nahmias & S. Nichols (eds.), Moral Psychology: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Blackwell 295.
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  35. Alfred Mele (2008). Psychology and Free Will: A Commentary. In J. Baer, J. C. Kaufman & R. Baumeister (eds.), Are We Free? Psychology and Free Will. Oxford University Press 325.
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  36. Alfred Mele (2008). Recent Work on Free Will and Science. American Philosophical Quarterly 45 (2):107-129.
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  37. Alfred Mele (2005). Dennett on Freedom. Metaphilosophy 36 (4):414-426.
    This article is my contribution to an author-meets-critics session on Daniel Dennett’s Freedom Evolves (Viking, 2003) at the 2004 meetings of the American Philosophical Association – Pacific Division. Dennett criticizes a view I defend in Autonomous Agents (Oxford University Press, 1995) about the importance of agents’ histories for autonomy, freedom, and moral responsibility and defends a competing view. Our disagreement on this issue is the major focus of this article. Additional topics are manipulation, avoidance, and avoidability.
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  38. Alfred R. Mele (2013). Free Will, Science, and Punishment. In Thomas A. Nadelhoffer (ed.), The Future of Punishment. OUP Usa 177.
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  39. Alfred R. Mele (2005). Dennett on Freedom. Metaphilosophy 36 (4):414-426.
    This article is my contribution to an author-meets-critics session on Daniel Dennett’s Freedom Evolves (Viking, 2003) at the 2004 meetings of the American Philosophical Association – Pacific Division. Dennett criticizes a view I defend in Autonomous Agents (Oxford University Press, 1995) about the importance of agents’ histories for autonomy, freedom, and moral responsibility and defends a competing view. Our disagreement on this issue is the major focus of this article. Additional topics are manipulation, avoidance, and avoidability.
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  40. Henry A. Mess (1943). Chance, Free Will and the Social Sciences. Philosophy 18 (71):231 - 239.
    Auguste Comte, writing of one of his forerunners, Montesquieu, said that the great merit of the latter's memorable work L'Esprit des Lois appeared to him to be in its tendency to regard political phenomena as subject to invariable laws like all other phenomena. Comte himself writes with regard to sociology: “the philosophical principle of the science being that social phenomena are subject to natural laws, admitting of rational prevision, we have to ascertain what is the precise subject, and what the (...)
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  41. J. Miller & A. Feltz (2011). Frankfurt and the Folk: An Empirical Investigation. Consciousness and Cognition 20:401-414.
    An important disagreement in contemporary debates about free will hinges on whether an agent must have alternative possibilities to be morally responsible. Many assume that notions of alternative possibilities are ubiquitous and reflected in everyday intuitions about moral responsibility: if one lacks alternatives, then one cannot be morally responsible. We explore this issue empirically. In two studies, we find evidence that folk judgments about moral responsibility call into question two popular principles that require some form of alternative possibilities for moral (...)
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  42. Eddy Nahmias (2015). Why We Have Free Will. Scientific American 312 (1):77-79.
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  43. Eddy Nahmias (2012). Defining Free Will Away. [REVIEW] The Philosophers Magazine 58 (3):110-114.
    A critical review of Sam Harris' Free Will (2012).
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  44. Eddy Nahmias (2012). Free Will and Responsibility. WIREs Cognitive Science 3 (4):439-449.
    Free will is a set of capacities for conscious choice and control of actions and is essential for moral responsibility. While determinism is traditionally discussed as the main potential challenge to free will and responsibility, other potential challenges exist and need to be considered by philosophers and scientists. The cognitive sciences are relevant to free will both to study how people understand free will and potential challenges to it, and to study whether these challenges are supported by relevant scientific evidence.
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  45. Eddy Nahmias (2010). Scientific Challenges to Free Will. In C. Sandis & T. O'Connor (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action. Wiley-Blackwell 345-356.
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  46. Eddy Nahmias & Morgan Thompson (2014). A Naturalistic Vision of Free Will. In Elizabeth O'Neill & Edouard Machery (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge
    We argue, contra Joshua Knobe in a companion chapter, that most people have an understanding of free will and responsible agency that is compatible with a naturalistic vision of the human mind. Our argument is supported by results from a new experimental philosophy study showing that most people think free will is consistent with complete and perfect prediction of decisions and actions based on prior activity in the brain (a scenario adapted from Sam Harris who predicts most people will find (...)
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  47. Natika Newton (2003). A Critical Review of Nicholas Maxwell's the Human World in the Physical Universe: Consciousness, Free Will, and Evolution. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 16 (1):149 – 156.
    Nicholas Maxwell takes on the ambitious project of explaining, both epistemologically and metaphysically, the physical universe and human existence within it. His vision is appealing; he unites the physical and the personal by means of the concepts of aim and value, which he sees as the keys to explaining traditional physical puzzles. Given the current popularity of theories of goal-oriented dynamical systems in biology and cognitive science, this approach is timely. But a large vision requires firm and nuanced arguments to (...)
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  48. Ricardo Noguera‐Solano (2013). The Metaphor of the Architect in Darwin: Chance and Free Will. Zygon 48 (4):859-874.
    In The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, published in 1868, Darwin used the metaphor of the architect to argue in favor of natural autonomy and to clarify the role of chance in his theory of adaptive change by variation and natural selection. In this article, I trace the history of this important heuristic instrument in Darwin's writings and letters and suggest that this metaphor was important to Darwin because it helps him to explain the role of chance, and (...)
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  49. Timothy O'Connor (2005). Pastoral Counsel for the Anxious Naturalist: Daniel Dennett's Freedom Evolves. Metaphilosophy 36 (4):436-448.
    The church-going philosopher who settles in for an extended reading of Dan Dennett’s new book will find himself in a familiar circumstance. What one confronts is a lot more like an extended sermon than it is a typical philosophical treatise. And, whatever one’s Sunday morning habits, one can’t help but admire the preaching skills artfully displayed. The delivery is powerful and assured; the argument is streamlined, peppered with evocative and delightful illustrations that will be recalled long after the particular points (...)
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  50. Timothy O'Connor (2005). Pastoral Counsel for the Anxious Naturalist: Daniel Dennett's Freedom Evolves. Metaphilosophy 36 (4):436-448.
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