Bound: Essays on free will and responsibility by Shaun Nichols

Bound: Essays on free will and responsibility

byShaun Nichols

Hardcover | February 6, 2015

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The problem of free will arises from ordinary, commonsense reflection. Shaun Nichols examines these ordinary attitudes from a naturalistic perspective. He offers a psychological account of the origins of the problem of free will. According to his account the problem arises because of twonaturally emerging ways of thinking about ourselves and the world, one of which makes determinism plausible while the other makes determinism implausible. Although contemporary cognitive science does not settle whether choices are determined, Nichols argues that our belief in indeterminist choice isgrounded in faulty inference and should be regarded as unjustified. However, even if our belief in indeterminist choice is false, it's a further substantive question whether that means that free will doesn't exist. Nichols argues that, because of the flexibility of reference, there is no singleanswer to whether free will exists. In some contexts, it will be true to say 'free will exists'; in other contexts, it will be false to say that. With this substantive background in place, Bound promotes a pragmatic approach to prescriptive issues. In some contexts, the prevailing practical considerations suggest that we should deny the existence of free will and moral responsibility; in other contexts the practical considerations suggestthat we should affirm free will and moral responsibility. This allows for the possibility that in some contexts, it is morally apt to exact retributive punishment; in other contexts, it can be apt to take up the exonerating attitude of hard incompatibilism.

About The Author

Shaun Nichols is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment (OUP, 2004) and co-author (with Stephen Stich) of Mindreading (OUP, 2003). He is editor of The Architecture of the Imagination (OUP, 2006) and co-editor of Experimental Philosophy (w...
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Details & Specs

Title:Bound: Essays on free will and responsibilityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.7 inPublished:February 6, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199291845

ISBN - 13:9780199291847

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: Agency1. The folk psychology of agency2. The indeterminist intuition3. Free will and errorPart II: Moral responsibility4. Incompatibilism: intuitive and isolated5. Debunking arguments6. Brute retributivism7. After incompatibilism