The Problem of Freedom and Determinism [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 23 (3):554-554 (1970)

The debate between hard and soft determinists is dealt with in this brief but interesting study. The author argues that there is no empirical dispute between hard and soft determinists. They draw different conclusions from the observed facts and these differences are the result of using different senses of the terms 'freedom' and 'moral responsibility'. Moritz Schlick's Problems of Ethics is the author's favored source for the soft determinist position and well-known articles by Paul Edwards and John Hospers the sources for hard determinism. Other writers are quoted and briefly discussed. The treatment of many criticisms and countercriticisms is all too brief to do full justice to all the issues involved, but those topics which the author discusses are often illuminated. Interesting things are said about such topics as kleptomania, post-hypnotic suggestion, punishment, and excusable behavior. The book makes a convincing case, at least for the claim that a sophisticated version of the hard determinist position, such as appears in Hospers article, is only verbally different than many versions of soft determinism. Other versions of hard and soft determinism can and do come in substantive conflict with one another.--R. H. K.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph197023310
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