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Freedom Within Reason - Susan Wolf

Freedom Within Reason

Paperback

Published: 1st July 1993
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Philosophers typically see the issue of free will and determinism in terms of a debate between two standard positions. Incompatibilism holds that freedom and responsibility require causal and metaphysical independence from the impersonal forces of nature. According to compatibilism, people are free and responsible as long as their actions are governed by their desires. In Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf charts a path between these traditional positions: We are not free and responsible, she argues, for actions that are governed by desires that we cannot help having. But the wish to form our own desires from nothing is both futile and arbitrary. Some of the forces beyond our control are friends to freedom rather than enemies of it: they endow us with faculties of reason, perception, and imagination, and provide us with the data by which we come to see and appreciate the world for what it is. The independence we want, Wolf argues, is not independence from the world, but independence from forces that prevent or preclude us from choosing how to live in light of a sufficient appreciation of the world. The freedom we want is a freedom within reason and the world.

"Highly intelligent, original, and provocative. Her criticisms of the Autonomy View and the Real Self View are both vigorous and incisive. Her alternative approach--the Reason View--is developed with considerable subtlety and refinement. It is a distinctive approach to free will and moral responsibility, which deserves to be taken seriously."--Ethics "Refreshing....Bold positions are advanced, elaborated with adequate, not exorbitant detail, and forcefully defended. The writing is crisp and not ponderous....Wolf's perspective on the issues is original. Although the theories that are surveyed are familiar, the way in which they are sorted is illuminating."--Journal of Philosophy "Thoughtful and persuasive....A valuable dimension of Wolf's book is her clear summary of arguments that in their original form, are virtually inpenetrable to those who are not trained in academic philosophy."--American Political Science Review "[Wolf's] view is marked by a refreshing simplicity that does not undermine its philosophical soundness or its persuasiveness....One can find little to discredit in Wolf's arguments, and her approach to the problem of the relationship between responsibility and freedom provides a relief from the tedious and convoluted debates that often take place when this issue is the topic."--Review of Metaphysics "This book is brilliantly written and full of stimulating argument. Because it states the fundamental issues intuitively and clearly, it is accessible to a wide audience. Because many claims and arguments are original and well presented, it will also appeal to professionals....It is an important book that deserves a very wide audience."--Choice "Highly intelligent, original, and provocative. Her criticisms of the Autonomy View and the Real Self View are both vigorous and incisive. Her alternative approach--the Reason View--is developed with considerable subtlety and refinement. It is a distinctive approach to free will and moral responsibility, which deserves to be taken seriously."--Ethics "Refreshing....Bold positions are advanced, elaborated with adequate, not exorbitant detail, and forcefully defended. The writing is crisp and not ponderous....Wolf's perspective on the issues is original. Although the theories that are surveyed are familiar, the way in which they are sorted is illuminating."--Journal of Philosophy "Thoughtful and persuasive....A valuable dimension of Wolf's book is her clear summary of arguments that in their original form, are virtually inpenetrable to those who are not trained in academic philosophy."--American Political Science Review "[Wolf's] view is marked by a refreshing simplicity that does not undermine its philosophical soundness or its persuasiveness....One can find little to discredit in Wolf's arguments, and her approach to the problem of the relationship between responsibility and freedom provides a relief from the tedious and convoluted debates that often take place when this issue is the topic."--Review of Metaphysics "This book is brilliantly written and full of stimulating argument. Because it states the fundamental issues intuitively and clearly, it is accessible to a wide audience. Because many claims and arguments are original and well presented, it will also appeal to professionals....It is an important book that deserves a very wide audience."--Choice "An unusual and challenging view about human freedom and responsibility....Original and challenges more than a few entrenched presuppositions about human freedom and responsibility."--Times Literary Supplement "Very good book and very useful. Articulates clearly a powerful idea about freedom and value."--Anthony Dardis, Hofstra University "A wonderfully original and highly provocative book. It is certain to stimulate much discussion and debate."--John Martin Fischer, University of California, Riverside

The Dilemma of Autonomy (In Which the Problems of Responsibility and Free Will Are Presented)p. 3
Setting Up the Problem(s): The Dilemma of Autonomyp. 4
Defending the Problem as a Problem: The Metaphysical Stancep. 15
The Real Self View (In Which a Nonautonomous Conception of Free Will and Responsibility is Examined and Criticized)p. 23
Relating the Problems of Free Will and Responsibility to Determinismp. 24
Avoiding Autonomy: Developing the Idea of an Agent's Real Selfp. 26
Problems with the Real Self Viewp. 35
The Autonomy View (In Which an Autonomous Conception of Free Will and Responsibility Is Examined and Criticized)p. 46
The Apparent (but Only Apparent) Autonomy of Valuing Selvesp. 49
Autonomy as the Ability to Make Radical Choicesp. 53
The (Non) Desirability of Autonomyp. 55
A Last Voice in Favor of Autonomy: The Skeptic's Perspectivep. 62
The Reason View (In Which a Nonautonomous Conception of Free Will and Responsibility Is Proposed)p. 67
The Reason View Compared with the Autonomy Viewp. 68
The Reason View Compared with the Real Self Viewp. 73
The Reason View as an Intermediary between the Other Viewsp. 76
The Asymmetry of the Reason Viewp. 79
The Reason View Appliedp. 81
Blameworthiness According to the Reason Viewp. 85
The Unity and Spirit of the Reason Viewp. 89
Ability and Possibility (In Which the Implications of Determinism for Responsibility Are Discussed)p. 94
Determinism and the Reason Viewp. 96
Conditional Analyses of Abilityp. 97
An Alternative Characterization of Abilityp. 100
The Storyp. 103
The Moral of the Storyp. 112
The True and the Good (In Which the Metaethical Assumptions of the Reason View Are Examined)p. 117
The Role of "the True and the Good" in the Reason Viewp. 118
The Metaethical Spectrump. 123
Varieties of Antiobjectivismp. 126
Conceptual Subjectivism's Implications for the Reason Viewp. 132
Normative Pluralism and Its Conjunction with the Reason Viewp. 135
How Much Freedom (and Reason) Do We Need?p. 142
Notesp. 149
Selected Readingsp. 155
Indexp. 159
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195085655
ISBN-10: 0195085655
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 176
Published: 1st July 1993
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.93 x 13.95  x 1.4
Weight (kg): 0.23