This category needs an editor. We encourage you to help if you are qualified.
Volunteer, or read more about what this involves.
About this topic
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
Related categories

83 found
1 — 50 / 83
  1. Contemporary Science and Freedom.Nicola Abbagnano - 1951 - Review of Metaphysics 5 (3):361 - 378.
  2. Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem.Mark Balaguer - 2009 - Bradford.
    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 (...)
  3. Biophysical Models of Human Behavior: Is There a Place for Logic.Rebecca Bamford & Mark D. Tschaepe - 2011 - 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 (...)
  4. Would Biological Determinism Rule Out the Possibility of Freedom?Ansgar Beckermann - 2003 - In Andreas Hüttemann (ed.), Determinism in Physics and Biology. Mentis. pp. 136--149.
  5. Human Nature, Free Will, and the Human Sciences. [REVIEW]Francesca Bordogna - 2014 - Isis: A Journal of the History of Science 105 (1):161-163.
    Free Will and the Human Sciences in Britain, 1870–1910, and Between Mind and Nature, both published in 2013, illustrate a claim dear to Roger Smith: namely, that history—including history of the human sciences—is central to the human sciences. Free Will charts a wide range of conceptions of the will, power, agency, activity, the self, and character, as well as causality, necessity, determinism, and materialism. Victorian physicians, physiologists, scientific and philosophical psychologists, and philosophers, as well as (though that is not the (...)
  6. Kane is Not Able: A Reply to Vicens' 'Self-Forming Actions and Conflicts of Intention'.Gregg Caruso - 2015 - Southwest Philosophy Review 31 (2):21-26.
  7. (Un)Just Deserts: The Dark Side of Moral Responsibility.Gregg Caruso - 2014 - 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 (...)
  8. Free Will and Consciousness: A Determinist Account of the Illusion of Free Will.Gregg Caruso - 2013 - 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.
  9. Contentsintroductionmorality in Times of Naturalising the Mind – an Overviewpart I: Free Will, Responsibility and the Naturalised Mind1. Naturalizing Free Will – Empirical and Conceptual Issues2. Libet’s Experiments and the Possibility of Free Conscious Decision3. The Effectiveness of Intentions – a Critique of Wegnerpart II: Naturalising Ethics? – Metaethical Perspectives4. Neuroethics and the Rationalism/Sentimentalism Divide5. Experimental Ethics – a Critical Analysispart III: Naturalised Ethics? Empirical Perspectives6. Moral Soulfulness & Moral Hypocrisy – is Scientific Study of Moral Agency Relevant to Ethical Reflection?Part IV: Neuroethics – Which Values?7. The Rationale Behind Surgery –Truth, Facts, Valuesbiographical Notes on the Authorsname Index. [REVIEW]Antonella Corradini - 2014 - In Christoph Lumer (ed.), Morality in Times of Naturalising the Mind. De Gruyter. pp. 145-162.
  10. Cognitive Science, Moral Responsibility And The Self.Stefano Cossara - 2012 - Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 7 (1).
    In their “Free Will and the Bounds of the Self”, Knobe and Nichols try to get at the root of the discomfort that people feel when confronted with the picture of the mind that characterizes contemporary cognitive science in order to establish whether such discomfort is warranted or not. Their conclusion is that people’s puzzlement cannot be dismissed as a product of confusion, for it stems from some fundamental aspects of their conception of the self. In this paper I suggest, (...)
  11. Free Will or Determinism.Martin Davidson - 1937 - London: Watts & Co..
  12. Natural Freedom.Daniel Dennett - 2005 - 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 (...)
  13. Freedom Evolves.Daniel Clement Dennett - 2003 - Viking Press.
    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 (...)
  14. Review of D. Dennett, Freedom Evolves. [REVIEW]Jasper Doomen - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):295-298.
  15. Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, Free Will and Mathematical Thought.Solomon Feferman - 2011 - In Richard Swinburne (ed.), Free Will and Modern Science. Oup/British Academy.
    The determinism-free will debate is perhaps as old as philosophy itself and has been engaged in from a great variety of points of view including those of scientific, theological, and logical character. This chapter focuses on two arguments from logic. First, there is an argument in support of determinism that dates back to Aristotle, if not farther. It rests on acceptance of the Law of Excluded Middle, according to which every proposition is either true or false, no matter whether the (...)
  16. Pastoral Counsel for the Anxious Naturalist: Daniel Dennett's Freedom Evolves.John Martin Fischer - unknown
    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 (...)
  17. A Note on Free Will and Artificial Intelligence.Mark Fisher - 1983 - Philosophia 13 (September):75-80.
  18. Agitating for Munificence or Going Out of Business.Susan T. Gardner - 2008 - 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 (...)
  19. Free Will as Relative Freedom with Conscious Component.P. Hájı´Ček - 2009 - 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 (...)
  20. Science, Determinism and Free Will.David J. Hanson - 1970 - Journal of Social Research 13 (March):49-54.
  21. Force and Mind–Body Interaction.Gary Hatfield - 2005 - 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. pp. 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 (...)
  22. Laws, Mind, and Free Will.Steven Horst - 2011 - 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 (...)
  23. Free Will Ideology: Experiments, Evolution and Virtue Ethics.John A. Humbach - unknown
  24. Lehrer on Determinism, Free Will, and Evidence.Peter Inwagen - 1972 - Philosophical Studies 23 (5):351 - 357.
  25. The Problem of Free Will: A Contemporary Introduction.Mathew Iredale - 2012 - Routledge.
    Do we really have freedom to act, or are we slaves to our genes, environment or culture? Regular TPM columnist Mathew Iredale gets to grips with one of the most intractable issues in philosophy: the problem of free will. Iredale explores what it is about the free will problem that makes it so hard to resolve and argues that the only acceptable solution to the free will problem must be one that is consistent with what science tells us about the (...)
  26. Causation, Free Will, and Naturalism.Jenann Ismael - unknown
    This chapter addresses the worry that the existence of causal antecedents to your choices means that you are causally compelled to act as you do. It begins with the folk notion of cause, leads the reader through recent developments in the scientific understanding of causal concepts, and argues that those developments undermine the threat from causal antecedents. The discussion is then used as a model for a kind of naturalistic metaphysics that takes its lead from science, letting everyday concepts be (...)
  27. The Biological Basis of Human Freedom. Page Barbour Lectures for 1954 at the University of Virginia. [REVIEW]R. J. - 1957 - Review of Metaphysics 10 (3):537-537.
  28. Review of "Free Will and Modern Science". [REVIEW]Stephen Kearns - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  29. Free: Why Science Hasn’T Disproved Free Will, by Alfred R. Mele.Andrew Kissel - 2015 - Teaching Philosophy 38 (3):354-358.
  30. Evolution and Free Will: A Defense of Darwinian Non-Naturalism.John Lemos - 2002 - 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 (...)
  31. Against Free Will in the Contemporary Natural Sciences.Martín López-Corredoira - 2016 - In Free Will: Interpretations, Implementations and Assessments. Nova Science Publ..
    The claim of the freedom of the will (understood as an individual who is transcendent to Nature) in the name of XXth century scientific knowledge, against the perspective of XVIIIth-XIXth century scientific materialism, is analysed and refuted in the present paper. The hypothesis of reductionism finds no obstacle within contemporary natural sciences. Determinism in classical physics is irrefutable, unless classical physics is itself refuted. From quantum mechanics, some authors argue that free will is possible because there is an ontological indeterminism (...)
  32. Feferman on Gödel and Free Will : A Response to Chapter 6.J. R. Lucas - 2011 - In Richard Swinburne (ed.), Free Will and Modern Science. Oup/British Academy.
  33. On Dennett and the Natural Sciences of Free Will.Matteo Mameli - 2003 - 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.
  34. Student.Krishna Mantirraju - manuscript
    Freedom is an impossibility; the dream of having the ability to choose anything one wants is hampered by reality. However, what aspect of reality ultimately hampers the birth of true freedom? What I propose is that reality itself makes freedom impossible. Furthermore, I also make the logical assumption, from the evidence I have found, that the only entity that can have freedom is a being that is formless, timeless, featureless, and is an infinite environment of nothing. While my studies today (...)
  35. The Biological Basis of Human Freedom.Sister Adrian Marie - 1958 - New Scholasticism 32 (2):271-274.
  36. Science Versus Realization of Value, Not Determinism Versus Choice.Nicholas Maxwell - 2005 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (1):53-58.
  37. The Human World in the Physical Universe: Consciousness, Free Will and Evolution.Nicholas Maxwell - 2001 - 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..
  38. Review of “Freedom Evolves”. [REVIEW]Shaun Maxwell - 2005 - Essays in Philosophy 6 (1):22.
    Freedom Evolves draws together themes from much of Daniel Dennett’s pervious work. It aims to support and extend the compatiblist account of free will he set out in Elbow Room , now that he has fulfilled that book’s promissory notes with Consciousness Explained and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea . In the first third of the new book Dennett develops compatibalist accounts of his key concepts by extending the analysis of non-human agents presented in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. The remainder of Freedom Evolves (...)
  39. Vetoing and Consciousness.Alfred Mele - forthcoming - In T. Vierkant, J. Kiverstein & A. Clark (eds.), Decomposing the Will. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter’s topic is Benjamin Libet’s position on vetoing. To veto a conscious decision, intention, or urge is to decide not to act on it and to refrain, accordingly, from acting on it. Libet associates veto power with some fancy metaphysics. This chapter sets the metaphysical issues aside and concentrates on the empirical ones, focusing on neuroscientific research that bears on vetoing.
  40. Free Will and Substance Dualism: The Real Scientific Threat to Free Will?Alfred Mele - 2014 - In W. Sinnot-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, Vol. 4: Free Will and Responsibility. MIT Press.
    Mele uses survey methods of experimental philosophy to argue that folk notions of freedom and responsibility do not really require any dubious mind–body dualism. In his comment, Nadelhoffer questions Mele's interpretation of the experiments and adds contrary data of his own. Vargas then suggests that Mele overlooks yet another threat to free will—sourcehood. Mele replies by reinterpreting Nadelhoffer's data and rejecting Vargas’ claim that free will requires sourcehood.
  41. Another Scientific Threat to Free Will?Alfred Mele - 2012 - The Monist 95 (3):422-440.
  42. Free Will and Science.Alfred Mele - 2011 - In R. Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Free Will, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.
    This article examines the work of two figures in fields whose work has had a significant impact on recent free-will debates, neuroscientist Benjamin Libet and psychologist Daniel Wegner. Libet's groundbreaking experimental studies on human subjects relating brain activities to the appearance or production of conscious experience, volition, and willed action have been much discussed by philosophers and scientists over the past few decades and have influenced subsequent scientific research on these subjects. The second half of the article deals with the (...)
  43. Scientific Skepticism About Free Will.Alfred Mele - 2010 - In T. Nadelhoffer, E. Nahmias & S. Nichols (eds.), Moral Psychology: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Blackwell. pp. 295.
  44. Psychology and Free Will: A Commentary.Alfred Mele - 2008 - In J. Baer, J. C. Kaufman & R. Baumeister (eds.), Are We Free? Psychology and Free Will. Oxford University Press. pp. 325.
    This chapter is a commentary on the others, concentrating on themes that link many of them. It provides conceptual background on free will, distinguishes among distinct philosophical positions on the topic (including compatibilist and incompatibilist positions), discusses determinism and laws of nature, connects free will to consciousness, critically examines Benjamin Libet's work on free will and consciousness, and considers the light that Daniel Wegner's contribution to the volume sheds on the “the illusion of conscious will” and free will.
  45. Recent Work on Free Will and Science.Alfred Mele - 2008 - American Philosophical Quarterly 45 (2):107-129.
  46. Dennett on Freedom.Alfred Mele - 2005 - 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.
  47. Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will.Alfred R. Mele - 2014 - Oxford University Press USA.
    Does free will exist? The question has fueled heated debates spanning from philosophy to psychology and religion. The answer has major implications, and the stakes are high. To put it in the simple terms that have come to dominate these debates, if we are free to make our own decisions, we are accountable for what we do, and if we aren't free, we're off the hook.There are neuroscientists who claim that our decisions are made unconsciously and are therefore outside of (...)
  48. Free Will, Science, and Punishment.Alfred R. Mele - 2013 - In Thomas A. Nadelhoffer (ed.), The Future of Punishment. Oup Usa. pp. 177.
    Scientific arguments for the nonexistence of free will use data to support empirical propositions that are then conjoined with a proposition about the meaning of “free will” to yield the conclusion that free will is an illusion. In Effective Intentions, the chapter argued that various empirical propositions put forward for this purpose are not warranted by the evidence offered to support them. It might be replied that the only empirical proposition needed in this connection is that substance dualism is false, (...)
  49. Situationism and Agency.Alfred Mele & Joshua Shepherd - 2013 - Journal of Practical Ethics 1 (1):62-83.
    Research in psychology indicates that situations powerfully impact human behavior. Often, it seems, features of situations drive our behavior even when we remain unaware of these features or their influence. One response to this research is pessimism about human agency: human agents have little conscious control over their own behavior, and little insight into why they do what they do. In this paper we review classic and more recent studies indicating “the power of the situation,” and argue for a more (...)
  50. Chance, Free Will and the Social Sciences.Henry A. Mess - 1943 - 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 (...)
1 — 50 / 83