Freedom and Experience: Self-Determination Without Illusions

St. Martin's Press/Palgrave Macmillan (1997)
Abstract
Most of us take it for granted that we are free agents: that we can sometimes act so as to shape our own lives and those of others, that we have choices about how to do so and that we are responsible for what we do. But are we really justified in believing this? For centuries philosophers have argued about whether free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism or natural causation, and they seem no closer to agreeing about it now than at any time in the past. Many contemporary philosophers have come to the conclusion that the intractability of the old argument about free will and determinism is caused by deep rooted illusions and inconsistencies in our unreflective attitudes about moral responsibility and freedom to act. Kevin Magill challenges this view and argues that the philosophical stalemate about free will has arisen through lack of attention to the content of the experiences that shape our understanding of free will and agency and through a mistaken belief that the concept of moral responsibility requires a moral and metaphysical justification. The book sets out an original account of the various ways we experience choosing, deciding and acting, which reconciles the apparently opposing intuitions that have fuelled the traditional dispute.
Keywords Free will and determinism  Moral responsibility  Nature of actions  Experience of causation  Free will and analytical philosophy  Compatibilism  Explaining incompatibilism
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Call number BJ1460.M34 1996
ISBN(s) 0312164742
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