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Liberty Worth the Name : Locke on Free Agency - Gideon Yaffe

Liberty Worth the Name

Locke on Free Agency

Paperback Published: 22nd October 2000
ISBN: 9780691057064
Number Of Pages: 188

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This is the first comprehensive interpretation of John Locke's solution to one of philosophy's most enduring problems: free will and the nature of human agency. Many assume that Locke defines freedom as merely the dependency of conduct on our wills. And much contemporary philosophical literature on free agency regards freedom as a form of self-expression in action. Here, Gideon Yaffe shows us that Locke conceived free agency not just as the freedom to express oneself, but as including also the freedom to transcend oneself and act in accordance with "the good." For Locke, exercising liberty involves making choices guided by what is good, valuable, and important. Thus, Locke's view is part of a tradition that finds freedom in the imitation of God's agency. Locke's free agent is the ideal agent.

Yaffe also examines Locke's understanding of volition and voluntary action. For Locke, choices always involve self-consciousness. The kind of self-consciousness to which Locke appeals is intertwined with his conception of personal identity. And it is precisely this connection between the will and personal identity that reveals the special sense in which our voluntary actions can be attributed to us and the special sense in which we are active with respect to them. Deftly written and tightly focused, "Liberty Worth the Name" will find readers far beyond Locke studies and early modern British philosophy, including scholars interested in free will, action theory, and ethics.

Industry Reviews

"Liberty Worth the Name uses Locke's texts as a means of exploring with great acuity the various ways in which human selfhood and agency depend upon each other."--James A. Harris, Times Literary Supplement "Liberty Worth the Name is an excellent book which displays great subtlety and sophistication in its analyses of the issues. Yaffe is a master of the contemporary literature in the philosophy of action; his book is informed throughout by a deep knowledge of the current positions and debates... [His] study will surely stimulate a revival of interest in a largely neglected and undervalued area of Locke's thought."--Nicholas Jolley, Philosophy in Review

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 3
A Second Perfectionp. 12
Freedom of Actionp. 13
Freedom of Will: The Negative Viewsp. 21
Free Willsp. 22
Free Volitionsp. 27
The Elusive Something and Freedom of Will: The Positive Viewsp. 31
The First Editionp. 32
The Second and Later Editionsp. 42
Some Consequences of the Second Edition Accountp. 61
Freedom of Will and the Natural Law Theoryp. 65
Conclusionp. 71
Volition and Voluntary Actionp. 75
Action and Active Powersp. 78
Passion and Proper Actionp. 79
Active and Passive Powerp. 82
Two Degrees of Attributabilityp. 85
What Are Volitions?p. 88
A Quick Look Backp. 98
Voluntary Actionp. 99
The Necessity of Causation by Volition for Voluntarinessp. 100
The (Non)Sufficiency of Causation by Volition for Voluntarinessp. 104
An Alternative Interpretationp. 107
The Power to Act Voluntarilyp. 112
The Special Attributability of Voluntary Actionp. 112
Conclusionp. 117
Free Agency and Personal Identityp. 118
Choice and Personal Identityp. 119
Contemplation of (Temporally) Absent Pleasure and Painp. 134
Conclusionp. 139
Notesp. 141
Bibliographyp. 161
General Indexp. 169
Index Locorump. 175
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691057064
ISBN-10: 0691057060
Series: Princeton Monographs in Philosophy
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 188
Published: 22nd October 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.54 x 13.95  x 1.47
Weight (kg): 0.23