This volume collects four published articles by the late Tamara Horowitz and two unpublished papers on decision theory: "Making Rational Decisions When Preferences Cycle" and the monograph-length "The Backtracking Fallacy." An introduction is provided by editor Joseph Camp. Horowitz preferred to recognize the diversity of rationality, both practical and theoretical rationality. She resisted the temptation to accept simple theories of rationality that are quick to characterize ordinary reasoning as fallacious. This broadly humanist approach to philosophy is exemplified by the articles (...) in this collection. As just one example, in "The Backtracking Fallacy," she argues that there are policies for decision-making a person may adopt if the person prefers to do so, but need not adopt. A person who employs such a policy no longer can regard standard expected utility theory as exceptionless, thereby sacrificing theoretical simplicity. But it is a mistake, Horowitz argues, to preserve theoretical simplicity by falsifying the decision making methods real people really use. (shrink)
The editors, working with a team of 325 renowned authorities in the field of ethics, have revised, expanded, and updated this classic encyclopedia. Along with the addition of 150 new entries, all of the original articles have been newly peer-reviewed and revised, bibliographies have been updated throughout, and the overall design of the work has been enhanced for easier access to cross-references and other reference features. New entries include * Aristotelian Ethics * Avicenna * Bad Faith * Beneficence * Categorical (...) and Hypothetical Imperatives * Cheating * Civil Liberty * Conventions * Dirty hands * Evolution * Fiduciary Relationships * Gay ethics * Genetic Engineering * Holocaust * Journalism * Killing/Letting Die * Moral Imagination * Narrative Ethics * Political correctness * Population Ethics * Public and 0rivate Morality * Racism, concepts of * and many more. (shrink)
If there is such a thing as reason, it has to be universal - it must work the same way for everyone. Reason must reflect objective principles whose validity is independent of our point of view. To reason is to think systematically in ways that anyone looking on ought to be able to recognize as correct. But this generality of reason is what relativists and subjectivists deny in ever-increasing numbers. And such subjectivism is not just an inconsequential intellectual flourish or (...) badge of theoretical chic. It is exploited to deflect argument and to belittle the pretensions of the arguments of others. The continuing spread of this relativistic way of thinking threatens to make public discourse increasingly difficult and to exacerbate the deep divisions of our society. -/- In The Last Word, Thomas Nagel, one of the most influential philosophers writing in English, presents a sustained defence of reason against the attacks of subjectivism, delivering systematic rebuttals of relativistic claims with respect to language, logic, science, and ethics. His work sets a new standard in the debate on this crucially important question and should generate intense interest both within and outside the philosophical community. (shrink)
Taking the problem of weakness of will as her starting point, Jeanette Kennett builds an admirably comprehensive and integrated account of moral agency which gives a central place to the capacity for self-control. Her account of the exercise and limits of self-control vindicates the common-sense distinction between weakness of will and compulsion and so underwrites our ordinary allocations of moral responsibility.
This book is concerned with the role of economic philosophy ("ideas") in the processes of belief-formation and social change. Its aim is to further our understanding of the behavior of the individual economic agent by bringing to light and examining the function of non-rational dispositions and motivations ("passions") in the determination of the agent's beliefs and goals. Drawing on the work of David Hume and Adam Smith, the book spells out the particular ways in which the passions come to affect (...) our ordinary understanding and conduct in practical affairs and the intergenerational and interpersonal transmission of ideas through language. Concern with these problems, it is argued, lies at the heart of an important tradition in the British moral philosophy. This emphasis on the non-rational nature of our belief-fixation mechanisms has important implications: it helps to clarify and qualify the misleading claims often made by utilitarian, Marxist, Keynesian, and neo-liberal economic philosophers, all of whom stress the overriding power of ideas to shape conduct, policy, and institutions. (shrink)
Joseph Raz presents a penetrating exploration of the interdependence of value, reason, and the will. The essays illuminate a wide range of questions concerning fundamental aspects of human thought and action. The book is a summation of many years of original, compelling, and influential work by a major contemporary philosopher.
This book is about how we make choices. It is a compelling analysis of the nature of free will, drawing together evidence from chemistry, literature, politics, history and beyond. Psychiatrist Chris Nunn elegantly explores the revolutions in medicine, genetics, bioethics and neuroscience spurred by Julien de la Mettrie's 300-year-old tract Man the Machine . Nunn concludes that a mechanistic view of the human brain, though once fruitful, is now moribund. He proposes a powerful alternative: that stories, recorded in our memories (...) throughout life, are the mediators of free choice. Nunn demonstrates how this original approach could reconcile the latest brain-imaging results and our seemingly contradictory intuition about decision making and responsibility. (shrink)
Why is debate over the free will problem so intractable? In this broad and stimulating look at the philosophical enterprise, Richard Double uses the free will controversy to build on the subjectivist conclusion he developed in The Non-Reality of Free Will (OUP 1991). Double argues that various views about free will--e.g., compatibilism, incompatibilism, and even subjectivism--are compelling if, and only if, we adopt supporting metaphilosophical views. Because metaphilosophical considerations are not provable, we cannot show any free will theory to be (...) most reasonable. Metaphilosophy and Free Will deconstructs the free will problem and, by example, challenges philosophers in other areas to show how their philosophical argumentation can succeed. (shrink)
In this book, Hodgson presents a clear and compelling case against today's orthodox mechanistic view of the brain-mind, and in favor of the view that "the mind matters." In the course of the argument he ranges over such topics as consciousness, informal reasoning, computers, evolution, and quantum indeterminancy and non-locality. Although written from a philosophical viewpoint, the book has important implications for the sciences concerned with the brain-mind problem. At the same time, it is largely non-technical, and thus accessible to (...) the non-specialist reader. (shrink)
Philosophers typically see the issue of free will and determinism in terms of a debate between two standard positions. Incompatibilism holds that freedom and responsibility require causal and metaphysical independence from the impersonal forces of nature. According to compatibilism, people are free and responsible as long as their actions are governed by their desires. In Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf charts a path between these traditional positions: We are not free and responsible, she argues, for actions that are governed by (...) desires that we cannot help having. But the wish to form our own desires from nothing is both futile and arbitrary. Some of the forces beyond our control are friends to freedom rather than enemies of it: they endow us with faculties of reason, perception, and imagination, and provide us with the data by which we come to see and appreciate the world for what it is. The independence we want, Wolf argues, is not independence from the world, but independence from forces that prevent or preclude us from choosing how to live in light of a sufficient appreciation of the world. The freedom we want is a freedom within reason and the world. (shrink)
Originally published: c2000. With new pref. An award-winning biologist argues that the intersection of scientific creativity and religious insight is a prerequisite for the emergence of a more humane medical science.
We all know what a voluntary action is - we all think we know when an action is voluntary, and when it is not. Yet, performing and action and defining it are different matters. What counts as an action? When does it begin? Does the conscious desire to perform an action always precede the act? If not, is it really a voluntary action? This is a debate that crosses the boundaries of Philosophy, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Social Science. This book brings (...) together some to the leading thinkers from these disciplines to consider this deep and often puzzling topic. The result is a fascinating and stimulating debate that will challenge our fundamental assumptions about our sense of free-will. (shrink)
Economist and evolutionary game theorist Daniel Friedman demonstrates that our moral codes and our market systems-while often in conflict-are really devices evolved to achieve similar ends, and that society functions best when morals and markets are in balance with each other.
This book deals with foundational issues in the history of the nature of action, the intentionality of action, the compatibility of freedom of action with determinism, and the explanation of action. Ginet's is a volitional view: that every action has as its core a "simple" mental action. He develops a sophisticated account of the individuation of actions and also propounds a challenging version of the view that freedom of action is incompatible with determinism.
The traditional disputants in the free will discussion--the libertarian, soft determinist, and hard determinist--agree that free will is a coherent concept, while disagreeing on how the concept might be satisfied and whether it can, in fact, be satisfied. In this innovative analysis, Richard Double offers a bold new argument, rejecting all of the traditional theories and proposing that the concept of free will cannot be satisfied, no matter what the nature of reality. Arguing that there is unavoidable conflict within our (...) understanding of moral responsibility and free choice, Double seeks to prove that when we ascribe responsibility, blame, or freedom, we merely express attitudes, rather than state anything capable of truth or falsity. Free will, he concludes, is essentially an incoherent notion. (shrink)
Beneath metaphysical problems there often lies a conflict between what we want to be true and what we believe to be true. Nathan provides a general account of the resolution of this conflict as a philosophical objective, showing that there are ways of thinking it through systematically with a view to resolving or alleviating it. The author also studies in detail a set of interrelated conflicts about the freedom and the reality of the will. He shows how difficult it is (...) to find a freedom either of decision or of action which is both an object of reflective desire and an object of rational belief. He also examines conflicts about volition as such, contending that the veridicality of volitional experience is no less easy to doubt than the veridicality of our experience of colors. In this context, arguments emerge for a voluntarist theory of the self. Nathan's important book will be essential reading for all philosophers interested in free will, volition, the self, and the methodology of metaphysics. (shrink)
The most successful theory in all of science--and the basis of one third of our economy--says the strangest things about the world and about us. Can you believe that physical reality is created by our observation of it? Physicists were forced to this conclusion, the quantum enigma, by what they observed in their laboratories. Trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics and found, to their embarrassment, that their theory intimately connects consciousness with the physical world. Quantum Enigma explores (...) what that implies and why some founders of the theory became the foremost objectors to it. Schrodinger showed that it "absurdly" allowed a cat to be in a "superposition" simultaneously dead and alive. Einstein derided the theory's "spooky interactions." With Bell's Theorem, we now know Schrodinger's superpositions and Einstein's spooky interactions indeed exist. Authors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all of this in non-technical terms with help from some fanciful stories and bits about the theory's developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, with an emphasis on what is and what is not speculation. Physics' encounter with consciousness is its skeleton in the closet. Because the authors open the closet and examine the skeleton, theirs is a controversial book. Quantum Enigma's description of the experimental quantum facts, and the quantum theory explaining them, is undisputed. Interpreting what it all means, however, is controversial. Every interpretation of quantum physics encounters consciousness. Rosenblum and Kuttner therefore turn to exploring consciousness itself--and encounter quantum physics. Free will and anthropic principles become crucial issues, and the connection of consciousness with the cosmos suggested by some leading quantum cosmologists is mind-blowing. Readers are brought to a boundary where the particular expertise of physicists is no longer a sure guide. They will find, instead, the facts and hints provided by quantum mechanics and the ability to speculate for themselves. (shrink)
Why does agency--the capacity to make choices and to act in the world--matter to us? Why is it meaningful that our intentions have effects in the world, that they reflect our sense of identity, that they embody what we value? What kinds of motivations are available for political agency and judgment in an age that lacks the enthusiasm associated with the great emancipatory movements for civil rights and gender equality? What are the conditions for the possibility of being an effective (...) agent when the meaning of democracy has become less transparent? David Kyuman Kim addresses these crucial questions by uncovering the political, moral, philosophical, and religious dimensions of human agency. Kim treats agency as a form of religious experience that reflects implicit and explicit notions of the good. Of particular concern are the moral, political, and religious motivations that underpin an understanding of agency as meaningful action. Through a critical engagement with the work of theorists such as Judith Butler, Charles Taylor, and Stanley Cavell, Kim argues that late modern and postmodern agency is found most effectively at work in what he calls "projects of regenerating agency" or critical and strategic responses to loss. Agency as melancholic freedom begins and endures, Kim maintains, through the moral and psychic losses associated with a broad range of experiences, including the moral identities shaped by secularized modernity and the multifold forms of alienation experienced by those who suffer the indignities of racial, gender, class, and sexuality discrimination and oppression. Kim calls for renewing the sense of urgency in our political and moral engagements by seeing agency as a vocation, where the aspiration for self-transformation and the human need for hope are fundamental concerns. (shrink)
Social action is central to social thought. This centrality reflects the overwhelming causal significance of action for social life, the centrality of action to any account of social phenomena, and the fact that conventions and normativity are features of human activity. This book provides philosophical analyses of fundamental categories of human social action, including cooperative action, conventional action, social norm governed action, and the actions of the occupants of organizational roles. A distinctive feature of the book is that it applies (...) these theories of social action categories to some important moral issues that arise in social contexts such as the collective responsibility for environmental pollution, humanitarian intervention, and dealing with the rights of minority groups. Avoiding both the excessively atomistic individualism of rational choice theorists and implausible collectivist assumptions, this important book will be widely read by philosophers of the social sciences, political scientists and sociologists. (shrink)
In The Consequences of Determinism, originally Part Three of the single-volume hardback edition, Honderich poses the following question: if determinism is true, and free will an illusion, what are the consequences? Honderich maintains that both of the entrenched and traditional doctrines about the consequences of determinism, Compatibilism and Incompatibilism, are provably false, and formulates a new answer to the question.
Introduction -- The self-interest based contractarian response to the skeptic -- A feminist ethics response to the skeptic -- Deformed desires -- Self-interest versus morality -- The amoralist -- The motive skeptic -- The interdependency thesis.
All social theorists and philosophers who seek to explain human action have a 'model of man', a metaphysical view of human nature. Some make man a plastic creature of nature and nurture, some present him as the autonomous creator of his social world, some offer a compromise. Each view needs its own theory of scientific knowledge calling for philosophic appraisal and the compromise sets harder puzzles than either. Passive accounts of man, for example, have a robust notion of causal explanation (...) but cannot either find or dispense with a self to apply them to. Active accounts rightly stress an autonomous self, but lack a proper concept of explanation. Martin Hollis takes these tensions and contrasts from the thought of sociologists, economists, and psychologists. He then develops a model of his own - one which seeks to connect personal and social identity through an ambitious theory of rational action and a priori knowledge, proposing a sense in which men can act freely and still be a subject for scientific explanation. (shrink)
This book, the third in a series on the life course, has significance in today's world of research, professional practice, and public policy because it symbolizes the gradual reemergence of power in the social sciences. Focusing on "self-directedness and efficacy" over the life course, this text addresses the following issues: * the causes of change * how changes affect the individual, the family system, social groups, and society at large * how various disciplines--anthropology, sociology, psychology, epidemiology--approach this field of study, (...) with consideration given to common themes and differences Finally, an effort is made to develop a multidisciplinary perspective unique to the study of self-directedness and efficacy. (shrink)
This book explores the epistemic or knowledge requirement of moral responsibility. Haji argues that an agent can be blamed (or praised) only if the agent harbors a belief that the action in question is wrong (or right or obligatory). Defending the importance of an "authenticity" condition when evaluating moral responsibility, Haji holds that one cannot be morally responsible for an action unless the action issues from sources (like desires or beliefs) that are truly the agent's own. Engaging crucial arguments in (...) moral theory to elaborate his views on moral responsibility, Haji addresses as well fascinating, underexamined topics such as assigning blame across an intercultural gap and the relevance of unconscious or dream thoughts when evaluating responsibility. (shrink)
This is the most detailed, sophisticated and comprehensive treatment of autonomy currently available. Moreover it argues for a quite different conception of autonomy from that found in the philosophical literature. Professor Berofsky claims that the idea of autonomy originating in the self is a seductive but ultimately illusory one. The only serious way of approaching the subject is to pay due attention to psychology, and to view autonomy as the liberation from the disabling effects of physiological and psychological afflictions. A (...) sustained critique of concepts such as moral autonomy, self-realisation, ideal autonomy, and identification is offered. The author replaces these with an alternative model that reveals how spontaneity, vitality and competence enable human beings to act in the real world. (shrink)
Beloved author of, among many other books, the bestsellers How to Argue and Win Every Time and The Making of a Country Lawyer , Gerry Spence distills a lifetime of wisdom and observation about how we live, and how we ought to live in Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom . Here, in seven chapters, he delivers messages that inspire us first to recognize our servitude-to money, possessions, corporations, the status quo, and our own fears-and then shows us how to (...) begin the self-defining process toward liberation. Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom is a powerfully affirming, large-hearted, and life-changing book that asks us all to take the greatest risk for the greatest reward-our own freedom. (shrink)
Alan Millar examines our understanding of why people think and act as they do. His key theme is that normative considerations form an indispensable part of the explanatory framework in terms of which we seek to understand each other. Millar defends a conception according to which normativity is linked to reasons. On this basis he examines the structure of certain normative commitments incurred by having propositional attitudes. Controversially, he argues that ascriptions of beliefs and intentions in and of themselves attribute (...) normative commitments and that this has implications for the psychology of believing and intending. Indeed, all propositional attitudes of the sort we ascribe to people have a normative dimension, since possessing the concepts that the attitudes implicate is of its very nature commitment-incurring. The ramifications of these views for our understanding of people is explored. Millar offers illuminating discussions of reasons for belief and reasons for action; the explanation of beliefs and actions in terms of the subject's reasons; the idea that simulation has a key role in understanding people; and the limits of explanation in terms of propositional attitudes. He compares and contrasts the commitments incurred by propositional attitudes with those incurred by participating in practices, arguing that the former should not be assimilated to the latter. Understanding People will be of great interest to most philosophers of mind, as well as to those working on practical and theoretical reasoning. (shrink)
In the past quarter-century, there has been a resurgence of interest in philosophical questions about free will. After a clear and broad-reaching survey of these recent debates, Robert Kane presents his own controversial view. Arguing persuasively for a traditional incompatibilist or libertarian conception of free will, Kane demonstrates that such a conception can be made intelligible without appeals to obscure or mysterious forms of agency and thus can be reconconciled with a contemporary scientific picture of the world.
The cultural imagery of women is deeply ingrained in our consciousness. So deeply, in fact, that feminists see this as a fundamental threat to female autonomy because it enshrines procreative heterosexuality as well as the relations of domination and subordination between men and women. Diana Meyers' book is about this cultural imagery - and how, once it is internalized, it shapes perception, reflection, judgement, and desire. These intergral images have a deep impact not only on the individual psyche, but also (...) on the social, political, and cultural syntax of society as a whole. Meyer's argues for the necessity of crafting a dissident, empowering, and 'emancipatory counter-imagery' for women. Rigorous, well written, and accessible, the reach of Gender in the mirror is arguably catholic, and addresses the interests or readers across an impressive range of intellectual disciplines. (shrink)
Available for the first time in paperback, this follow-up to the phenomenally successful Men Who Can't Love tackles the issue of commitmentphobia, that persistent obstacle to truly satisfying contemporary relationships. Authors Stephen Carter and Julia Sokol explore why modern men and women are torn between the desire for intimacy and the equally intense need for independence. Drawing on numerous interviews and real-life scenarios, and written with humor, insight, and the kind of wisdom gained by personal experience, He's Scared, She's Scared (...) offes guidance for all of us who want genuine, sustained intimacy with our romantic partners. From the Trade Paperback edition. (shrink)
Edited by three leading figures in the field, this exciting volume presents cutting-edge work in decision theory by a distinguished international roster of contributors. These mostly unpublished papers address a host of crucial areas in the contemporary philosophical study of rationality and knowledge. Topics include causal versus evidential decision theory, game theory, backwards induction, bounded rationality, counterfactual reasoning in games and in general, analyses of the famous common knowledge assumptions in game theory, and evaluations of the normal versus extensive form (...) formulations of complex decision problems. (shrink)
Manifest Activity presents and critically examines the model of human power, the will, our capacities for purposeful conduct, and the place of our agency in the natural world of one of the most important and traditionally under-appreciated philosophers of the 18th century: Thomas Reid. For Reid, contrary to the view of many of his predecessors, it is simply manifest that we are active with respect to our behaviours; it is manifest, he thinks, that our actions are not merely remote products (...) of forces that lie outside of our control. Reid holds, instead, that actions are all and only those events that spring from active power and he produces insightful and imaginative arguments for the claim that only a creature with a mind is capable of having active power. He believes that only human beings, and creatures 'above us', are capable of directing events towards ends, of endowing them with purpose or direction, the distinctive feature of action. However, he also holds that all events, and not merely human actions, are products of active power, power possessed either by human beings or by God. This collection of theses leads Reid to the view that human behaviour and the progress of nature are both essentially teleological. Patterns in nature are the products of laws of which God is the author; patterns in human conduct are the products of character and the laws that individuals set for themselves. Manifest Activity examines Reid's arguments for this view and the view's implications for the nature of character, motivation and the special kind of causation involved in the production of human behavior. (shrink)
A state-of-the-art collection of previously unpublished essays on the topics of determinism, free will, moral responsibility, and action theory, written by some of the most important figures in these fields of study.