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Free Will and Illusion - Saul Smilansky

Free Will and Illusion

Hardcover Published: 1st April 2000
ISBN: 9780198250180
Number Of Pages: 344

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Saul Smilansky presents an original treatment of the problem of free will, which lies at the heart of morality and human self-understanding. He maintains that we have most of the resources we need for a proper understanding of the problem; and the key to it is the role played by illusion. The major traditional philosophical approaches are inadequate, Smilansky argues: their partial insights need to be integrated into a hybrid view, which he calls Fundamental Dualism. Common views about justice, responsibility, human worth, and related notions are radically misguided, and the absurd looms large. We do, however, find some justification for enlightened moral views, and grounding for some of our most cherished views of human nature. The bold and perhaps disturbing claim of Free Will and Illusion is that we could not live adequately with a complete awareness of the truth about human freedom: illusion lies at the centre of the human condition. The necessity of illusion is seen to follow from the basic elements of the free will issue, helping keep our moral and psychological worlds intact. Smilansky offers the challenge of recognizing the centrality of illusion and trying to free ourselves to some extent from it; this is not only a philosophical challenge, but a moral and psychological one as well.

Industry Reviews

`A distinctive and helpful feature of Smilansky's approach is to widen the scope of free will to include issues in "distributive" as well as "retributive" justice.' Times Literary Supplement, 26/10/2001 `a large, ambitious, and thoughtful book which takes the debate in new directions. while also illuminating more traditional puzzles.' Times Literary Supplement, 26/10/2001 `complex and subtle new work, an original and challenging book which anyone interested in the free will problem will wish to read' The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly (51) `The view that freedom of the will is an illusion we cannot shake off is brilliantly defended.' John Gray, Straw Dogs `We should recognize the interest and power of Smilansky's project (and achievement) integrating the concern with the possibility of (genuine) agency into the concerns of applied philosophy.' Graham McFee, Res Publica `[A] complex and subtle new work, an original and challenging book which anyone interested in the free will problem will wish to read.' James Lenman, Lyyun `I enjoyed this book. ... Smilansky shows a remarkable breadth of learning and an admirable ability to address what needs addressing without engaging in make-work projects. The second half of the book, devoted to Illusionism, is interesting reading.' Richard Double, Mind, Vol 110, Jan 01

1. Introduction; PART I: METAPHYSICAL AND ETHICAL FOUNDATIONS; 2. The Core Conception; 3. Why Not Compatibilism? 4. Why Not Libertarian Free Will? 5. Why Not Hard Determinism? 6. The Fundamental Dualism; PART II: THE ROLE OF ILLUSION; 7. The Positive Importance of Illusion; 8. Explorations in the Land of Illusion; 9. Why Not Reactive Naturalism? 10. Some Further Benefits; 11. Some Additional Problems; 12. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

ISBN: 9780198250180
ISBN-10: 0198250185
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 344
Published: 1st April 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.39 x 15.6  x 2.06
Weight (kg): 0.63

Earn 256 Qantas Points
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