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Free Will



Free Will

Robert Kane (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-631-22102-9 December 2001 Wiley-Blackwell 328 Pages

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Free Will brings together the essential readings on the debate of free will and determinism. Written by top scholars in the field, the essays represent some of the clearest and most accessible thinking on this subject. The introduction offers a concise yet thorough mapping of this age-old debate as well as a helpful overview of the selections.


Introduction (Robert Kane).

Part I: The Free Will Problem: Standard Positions: Compatibilism, Libertarianism, Hard and Soft Determinism.

1. Walden Two: Freedom and the Behavioral Sciences (B. F. Skinner).

2. The Compatibility of Freedom and Determinism (Kai Nielsen).

3. Human Freedom and the Self (Roderick Chisholm).

4. Hard and Soft Determinism (Paul Edwards).

Part II: The Compatibility / Incompatibility Question: Alternative Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.

5. The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism (Peter van Inwagen).

6. I Could Not Have Done Otherwise -– So What? (Daniel Dennett).

7. Frankfurt-style Examples, Responsibility and Semi-compatibilism (John Martin Fischer).

8. The Explanatory Irrelevance of Alternative Possibilities (Derk Pereboom).

Part III: Hierarchical Motivation, Deep Self Theories and Reactive Attitudes: New Compatibilist Theories.

9. Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person (Harry Frankfurt).

10. Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility (Susan Wolf).

11. Responsibility and the Limits of Evil; Variations on a Strawsonian Theme (Gary Watson).

Part IV: The Intelligibility Question: Libertarian or Incompatibilist Views of Free Agency and Free Will.

12. The Mystery of Metaphysical Freedom (Peter van Inwagen).

13. The Agent as Cause (Timothy O'Connor).

14. Freedom, Responsibility and Agency (Carl Ginet).

15. Free Will: New Directions for an Ancient Problem (Robert Kane).

16. Chess, Life and Superlife (David Hodgson).

Part V: Religion and Free Will: Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom.

17. Divine Foreknowledge, Evil, and the Free Choice of the Will (St. Augustine).

18. God, Time, Knowledge and Freedom: The Historical Matrix (William Hasker).




"An immensely successful collection with an excellent editorial introduction, selected and composed by a major theorist on free will, and helpfully designed for classroom use. Three cheers for this Blackwell text!"
--George Graham, University of Alabama at Birmingham

"Kane's Free Will is an outstanding collection. Maintaining accessibility without loss of sophistication or depth, this compilation – better than any other – gives us a clear sense of where we are and how we arrived at this point. Add Kane's articulate introduction and useful glossary and we have the best anthology on free will in the last 25 years."
--Mark Bernstein, University of Texas, San Antonio

"Free Will offers an evenhanded and compelling collection of articles. The collection is impressive for the quality, range, and accessibility of the essays included. Kane's perceptive introduction to the collection frames the free will debate in a fair and illuminating manner."
--Michael McKenna, Ithaca College

  • Brings together essential readings which define and advance the debate between free will and determinism.

  • Features readings that are accessible to students and rich in content.

  • Provides context for each reading with supplementary questions, individual introductions and commentary.

  • Includes a detailed glossary of terms to help navigate the essays.