The Limits of Free Will
This volume contains a selection of papers concerning free will and moral responsibility. Among the topics covered, as they relate to these problems, are the challenge of skepticism; moral sentiment and moral capacity; necessity and the metaphysics of causation; practical reason;... read full description below.
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|Library of Congress
||Free will and determinism
Description of this Book
The Limits of Free Will contains a selection of papers concerning free will and moral responsibility. The problems arising in this field of philosophy, which are deeply rooted in the history of the subject, are also intimately related to a wide range of other fields, such as law and criminology, moral psychology, theology, and, more recently, neuroscience. The papers included in this collection were written and first published over a period of three decades, although most have appeared in the past decade or so. During this period this area of philosophy has been particularly active and it continues to attract a great deal of interest and attention. Among the topics covered, as they relate to these problems, are the challenge of skepticism; moral sentiment and moral capacity; necessity and the metaphysics of causation; practical reason; free will and art; fatalism and the limits of agency; and our metaphysical attitudes of optimism and pessimism. Some of the papers in this collection are primarily critical in character, presenting critiques and commentary on major works or contributions in the contemporary scene. Others are mainly constructive, aiming to develop and articulate a distinctive account of compatibilism. The general theory advanced, which is described as a form of critical compatibilism , rejects any form of unqualified or radical skepticism but also insists that a plausible compatibilism has significant and substantive implications about the limits of agency and argues that this licenses a metaphysical attitude of (modest) pessimism on this topic. Finally, each paper in this collection is self-standing and can be read in isolation from the others. There is, nevertheless, a core set of themes and issues that unite and link them all together. The collection is arranged and organized in a format that enables the reader to appreciate and recognize these links and the core themes that unite them.
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
||These are all uniformly excellent papers, beautifully written and offering a unique and important perspective on the topics of free will and moral responsibility. Michael McKenna, University of Arizona Paul Russell's subtle, incisive, and deeply human essays have had enormous influence on work in agency and responsibility for going on three decades. One cannot understand the state of play in many of the wide range of topics in the field without grappling with Russell's sharp critical insights and deftly drawn positions. His honest, original takes on moral sense, Strawson's naturalism, the analogy between art and morality, the nature of responsibility, the limits of the 'morality system', and his own pessimistic compatibilism have, quite simply, changed the ways we think about these issues for the better. I welcome having these wide-ranging and important essays collected in one place for easy and constant reference. David Shoemaker, Tulane University This is the Golden Age of free will philosophy. Paul Russell is a very significant participant in this, and moreover a philosopher with a distinct and rare voice. This volume will be very welcome in this respect, rightly positioning him as a central figure in the contemporary free will debate. Saul Smilansky, University of Haifa
Paul Russell, Professor in Philosophy, University of British Columbia and Lund University. Paul Russell is Professor in Philosophy at the University of British Columbia and Lund University. His publications include Freedom and Moral Sentiment: Hume's Way of Naturalizing Responsibility (Oxford University Press, 1995); The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion (Oxford University Press, 2008); and editor of The Philosophy of Free Will (Oxford University, 2013).