Freedom and Belief (Revised edition)

ISBN : 9780199247493

Galen Strawson
336 Pages
164 x 241 mm
Pub date
Aug 2010
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This is a revised and updated edition of Galen Strawson's groundbreaking first book, where he argues that there is a fundamental sense in which there is no such thing as free will or true moral responsibility (as this is ordinarily understood). This conclusion is very hard to accept. On the whole we continue to believe firmly both that we have free will and that we are truly morally responsible for what we do. Strawson devotes much of the book to an attempt to explain why this is so. He examines various aspects of the 'cognitive phenomenology' of freedom - the nature, causes, and consequences of our deep commitment to belief in freedom. In particular, he considers at length a number of problems that are raised by the suggestion that, if freedom were possible, believing oneself to be a free agent would be a necessary condition of being a free agent.


1. Introduction
2. Libertarianism, Action, and Self-determination
3. Kant and Commitment
4. Commitment, Illusion, and Truth
5. Non-rational Commitment: A View of Freedom
6. Phenomenology, Commitment, and What Might Happen
7. Objectivism: Preliminaries
8. Choice
9. Self-consciousness
10. Evidence and Independence
11. Contravention and Convention
12. The Spectator Subject and Integration
13. The Natural Epictetans
14. The Experience of Ability to Choose
15. Subjectivism and Experience of Freedom
16. Antinomy and Truth

About the author: 

Galen Strawson is Professor of Philosophy at Reading University, UK, and a Regular Visitor at CUNY Graduate Center, New York. Prior to that he was Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at CUNY Graduate Center, New York (2004-07); Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Jesus College, Oxford (1987-2000). He has also held visiting positions at the Research School of Social Sciences at Australian National University (1993), New York University (1997), and Rutgers University (2000). Strawson received his degrees from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford and studied at the Ecole Normale Superieure (rue d'Ulm) and the Sorbonne (Paris I, 1977-8).

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