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Free Will

ISBN-10: 0262525798
ISBN-13: 9780262525794
Edition: 2014
Authors: Mark Balaguer
List price: $15.95
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Description: In our daily life, it really seems as though we have free will,that what we do from moment to moment is determined by conscious decisions that we freely make. Youget up from the couch, you go for a walk, you eat chocolate ice cream. It seems that  More...

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Book details

List price: $15.95
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 2/14/2014
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 152
Size: 5.00" wide x 6.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.572
Language: English

In our daily life, it really seems as though we have free will,that what we do from moment to moment is determined by conscious decisions that we freely make. Youget up from the couch, you go for a walk, you eat chocolate ice cream. It seems that we're incontrol of actions like these; if we are, then we have free will. But in recent years, some haveargued that free will is an illusion. The neuroscientist (and best-selling author) Sam Harris andthe late Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner, for example, claim that certain scientific findingsdisprove free will. In this engaging and accessible volume in the Essential Knowledge series, thephilosopher Mark Balaguer examines the various arguments and experiments that have been cited tosupport the claim that human beings don't have free will. He finds them to be overstated andmisguided.Balaguer discusses determinism, the view that every physical event ispredetermined, or completely caused by prior events. He describes several philosophical andscientific arguments against free will, including one based on Benjamin Libet's famousneuroscientific experiments, which allegedly show that our conscious decisions are caused by neuralevents that occur before we choose. He considers various religious and philosophical views,including the philosophical pro-free-will view known as compatibilism. Balaguer concludes that theanti-free-will arguments put forward by philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists simplydon't work. They don't provide any good reason to doubt the existence of free will. But, hecautions, this doesn't necessarily mean that we have free will. The question of whether we have freewill remains an open one; we simply don't know enough about the brain to answer it definitively.

Mark Balaguer is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at California State University, Los Angeles. He is the author of Platonism and Anti-Platonism in Mathematics and Free Will as an Open Scientific Question (MIT Press).

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