Nature's Challenge to Free Will by Bernard BerofskyNature's Challenge to Free Will by Bernard Berofsky

Nature's Challenge to Free Will

byBernard Berofsky

Hardcover | February 15, 2012

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Hardly any attempt to come to grips with the classical problem of free will and determinism directly addresses the metaphysical vision driving the concerns of those who believe that a significant sort of free will cannot exist in a deterministic world. According to this vision of such a world,all events, including human decisions and actions, take place as they must because the world is governed by necessity. Most philosophers who believe that free will is possible in a deterministic world ignore this root position, often regarding it as sufficient to cite considerations about moralresponsibility, human agency, or the prerequisites for a society. Bernard Berofsky addresses that metaphysical picture directly. Nature's Challenge to Free Will offers an original defense of Humean Compatibilism. A Humean Compatibilist bases the belief in the compatibility of free will and determinism on David Hume's view that laws do not affirm the existence ofnecessary connections in nature. Berofsky offers a new formulation of Hume's position, given that, until now, there has been no acceptable version. His conclusion that free will is compatible with determinism is based as well upon a defense of the existence of psychological laws as autonomousrelative to physical laws. He rejects appeals to the unalterability of laws (as in the Consequence Argument) on the grounds that this principle fails for psychological laws. Efforts to bypass this result by trying to establish that all laws are reducible to physical laws or that psychological statessupervene on physical states are shown to fail. Berofsky concludes that the existence of free will as self-determination together with the power of genuine choice is not threatened even if we live in a deterministic world.
Bernard Berofsky is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He completed his PhD at Columbia University, and has held positions at the University of Michigan and Vassar College. Since 1970 he has been editor of the Journal of Philosophy. Berofsky is the author of Liberation from Self: A Theory of Personal Autonomy (Cambridge, 1...
Title:Nature's Challenge to Free WillFormat:HardcoverDimensions:280 pagesPublished:February 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199640017

ISBN - 13:9780199640010

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Concepts of Free Will3. Autonomy and Self-Determination4. Source Incompatibilism5. Conditionalist Compatibilism6. Causal Compatibilism7. The Consequence Argument and Determinism8. The Unalterability of Laws and the Reductionist Strategy9. Supervenience, Autonomy, and Physicalism10. The Regularity Theory I: Humean Supervenience11. The Regularity Theory II: Laws and Accidental Generalizations12. Free Will in a Deterministic WorldAcknowledgementsBibliographyIndex