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A Theory of Feelings Anger and Forgiveness"My Madness Saved Me"10 Good Questions about Life and Death12 Modern Philosophers50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a GodA Cabinet of Philosophical CuriositiesA Case for IronyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to Buddhist PhilosophyA Companion to FoucaultA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to HumeA Companion to KantA Companion to Phenomenology and ExistentialismA Companion to PragmatismA Companion to the Philosophy of ActionA Companion to the Philosophy of BiologyA Companion to the Philosophy of LiteratureA Conceptual History of PsychologyA Critical Overview of Biological FunctionsA Critique of Naturalistic Philosophies of MindA Cursing Brain?A Delicate BalanceA Farewell to AlmsA Frightening LoveA Future for PresentismA Guide to the Good LifeA History of PsychiatryA History of the MindA Life Worth LivingA Manual of Experimental PhilosophyA Map of the MindA Metaphysics of PsychopathologyA Mind So RareA Natural History of Human MoralityA Natural History of Human ThinkingA Natural History of VisionA Parliament of MindsA Philosopher Looks at The Sense of HumorA Philosophical DiseaseA Philosophy of BoredomA Philosophy of Cinematic ArtA Philosophy of CultureA Philosophy of EmptinessA Philosophy of FearA Philosophy of PainA Physicalist ManifestoA Place for ConsciousnessA Question of TrustA Research Agenda for DSM-VA Revolution of the MindA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Stroll With William JamesA Tear is an Intellectual ThingA Theory of FreedomA Thousand MachinesA Universe of ConsciousnessA Very Bad WizardA Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the CurtainA Virtue EpistemologyA World Full of GodsA World Without ValuesAbout FaceAbout the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the SelfAction and ResponsibilityAction in ContextAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionAction, Contemplation, and HappinessAction, Emotion and WillAdam SmithAdaptive DynamicsAddictionAddictionAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction Is a ChoiceAdvances in Identity Theory and ResearchAftermathAfterwarAgainst AdaptationAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HappinessAgainst HealthAgency and ActionAgency and AnswerabilityAgency and EmbodimentAgency and ResponsibilityAgency, Freedom, and Moral ResponsibilityAl-JununAlain BadiouAlain BadiouAlasdair MacIntyreAlien Landscapes?Altered EgosAn Anthology of Psychiatric EthicsAn Ethics for TodayAn Intellectual History of CannibalismAn Interpretation of DesireAn Introduction to EthicsAn Introduction to Kant's Moral Philosophy An Introduction to Philosophy of EducationAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of PsychologyAn Introductory Philosophy of MedicineAn Odd Kind of FameAnalytic FreudAnalytic Philosophy in AmericaAncient AngerAncient Models of MindAncient Philosophy of the SelfAngerAnimal LessonsAnimal MindsAnimals Like UsAnnihilationAnother PlanetAnswers for AristotleAnti-ExternalismAnti-Individualism and KnowledgeAntigone’s ClaimAntipsychiatryAre We Hardwired?Are Women Human?Arguing about DisabilityArguing About Human NatureAristotle and the Philosophy of FriendshipAristotle on Practical WisdomAristotle's ChildrenAristotle's Ethics and Moral ResponsibilityAristotle, Emotions, and EducationArt & MoralityArt After Conceptual ArtArt in Three DimensionsArt, Self and KnowledgeArtificial ConsciousnessArtificial HappinessAspects of PsychologismAsylum to ActionAtonement and ForgivenessAttention is Cognitive UnisonAutobiography as PhilosophyAutonomyAutonomy and Mental DisorderAutonomy and the Challenges to LiberalismBabies by DesignBackslidingBadiouBadiou's DeleuzeBadiou, Balibar, Ranciere: Rethinking EmancipationBare Facts And Naked TruthsBasic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free WillBattlestar Galactica and PhilosophyBe Like the FoxBeautyBecoming a SubjectBecoming HumanBehavingBehavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic EraBeing AmoralBeing HumanBeing Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory Being No OneBeing Realistic about ReasonsBeing ReducedBeing YourselfBelief's Own EthicsBending Over BackwardsBerlin Childhood around 1900Bernard WilliamsBertrand RussellBetter than BothBetter Than WellBetween Two WorldsBeyond HealthBeyond Hegel and NietzscheBeyond KuhnBeyond LossBeyond Moral JudgmentBeyond PostmodernismBeyond ReductionBeyond SchizophreniaBeyond the DSM StoryBioethicsBioethics and the BrainBioethics in the ClinicBiological Complexity and Integrative PluralismBiology Is TechnologyBiosBipolar ExpeditionsBlackwell Companion to the Philosophy of EducationBlindsight & The Nature of ConsciousnessBlues - Philosophy for EveryoneBlushBob Dylan and PhilosophyBody ConsciousnessBody Image And Body SchemaBody ImagesBody LanguageBody MattersBody WorkBody-Subjects and Disordered MindsBoundBoundaries of the MindBoyleBrain Evolution and CognitionBrain FictionBrain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive ScienceBrain-WiseBrainchildrenBrains, Buddhas, and BelievingBrainstormingBrave New WorldsBreakdown of WillBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and FaithBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBritain on the CouchBritish Idealism and the Concept of the SelfBrute RationalityBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBut Is It Art?Camus and SartreCartesian LinguisticsCartographies of the MindCarving Nature at Its JointsCase Studies in Biomedical Research EthicsCassandra's DaughterCato's TearsCausation and CounterfactualsCauses, Laws, and Free WillChanging Conceptions of the Child from the Renaissance to Post-ModernityChanging the SubjectChaosophyCharacter and Moral Psychology Character as Moral FictionCharles DarwinCherishmentChildhood and the Philosophy of EducationChildrenChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingChoices and ConflictChoosing Not to ChooseChristmas - Philosophy for EveryoneCinema, Philosophy, BergmanCinematic MythmakingCity and Soul in Plato's RepublicClassifying MadnessClear and Queer ThinkingClinical EthicsClinical Psychiatry in Imperial GermanyCodependent ForevermoreCoffee - Philosophy for EveryoneCognition and the BrainCognition of Value in Aristotle's EthicsCognition Through Understanding: Self-Knowledge, Interlocution, Reasoning, ReflectionCognitive BiologyCognitive FictionsCognitive Neuroscience of EmotionCognitive Systems and the Extended MindCognitive Systems and the Extended Mind Cognitive Theories of Mental IllnessCoherence in Thought and ActionCollected Papers, Volume 1Collected Papers, Volume 2College SexComedy IncarnateCommitmentCommunicative Action and Rational ChoiceCompetence, Condemnation, and CommitmentConcealment And ExposureConceptual Analysis and Philosophical NaturalismConceptual Art and PaintingConceptual Issues in Evolutionary BiologyConfessionsConfucianismConnected, or What It Means to Live in the Network SocietyConquest of AbundanceConscience and ConvenienceConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousness ConsciousnessConsciousness and Its Place in NatureConsciousness and LanguageConsciousness and Mental LifeConsciousness and MindConsciousness and the NovelConsciousness and the SelfConsciousness EmergingConsciousness EvolvingConsciousness ExplainedConsciousness in ActionConsciousness RecoveredConsciousness RevisitedConsciousness, Color, and ContentConsole and ClassifyConstructing the WorldConstructive AnalysisContemporary Debates In Applied EthicsContemporary Debates in Moral TheoryContemporary Debates in Philosophy of BiologyContemporary Debates in Philosophy of MindContemporary Debates in Political PhilosophyContemporary Debates in Social PhilosophyContemporary Perspectives on Natural LawContested Knowledge: Social Theory TodayContesting PsychiatryContext and the AttitudesContinental Philosophy of ScienceControlControlling Our DestiniesConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCopernicus, Darwin and FreudCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating ConsilienceCreating HysteriaCreating Mental IllnessCreating Scientific ConceptsCreating the American JunkieCreation, Rationality and AutonomyCreatures Like Us?Crime and CulpabilityCrime, Punishment, and Mental IllnessCrimes of ReasonCritical New Perspectives on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderCritical PsychiatryCritical PsychologyCritical ResistanceCritical Thinking About PsychologyCritical VisionsCross and KhoraCruel CompassionCTRL [SPACE]Cultural Psychology of the SelfCultural Theory: An IntroductionCulture and Psychiatric DiagnosisCulture and Subjective Well-BeingCulture of DeathCultures of NeurastheniaCurious EmotionsCurrent Controversies in Experimental PhilosophyCustom and Reason in HumeCustomers and Patrons of the Mad-TradeCutting God in Half - And Putting the Pieces Together AgainCylons in AmericaDamaged IdentitiesDamasio's Error and Descartes' TruthDangerous EmotionsDaniel DennettDaniel DennettDark AgesDarwin and DesignDarwin's Dangerous IdeaDarwin's LegacyDarwin, God and the Meaning of LifeDarwinian PsychiatryDarwinian ReductionismDarwinizing CultureDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeathDeathDeath and CharacterDeath and CompassionDeath and the AfterlifeDebating DesignDebating HumanismDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecomposing the WillDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeconstruction and DemocracyDeeper Than DarwinDeeper than ReasonDefending Science - within ReasonDefining Psychopathology in the 21st CenturyDegrees of BeliefDelusion and Self-DeceptionDelusions and Other Irrational BeliefsDelusions and the Madness of the MassesDementiaDemons, Dreamers, and MadmenDennett and Ricoeur on the Narrative SelfDennett’s PhilosophyDepression Is a ChoiceDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepthDerrida, Deleuze, PsychoanalysisDescartesDescartes and the Passionate MindDescartes' CogitoDescartes's Changing MindDescartes's Concept of MindDescribing Inner Experience?Descriptions and PrescriptionsDesembodied Spirits and Deanimated Bodies Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Desire and AffectDesire, Love, and IdentityDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDeveloping the VirtuesDiagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersDialectics of the SelfDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital SoulDimensional Models of Personality DisordersDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDisjunctivismDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDispatches from the Freud WarsDisrupted LivesDistractionDisturbed ConsciousnessDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDo Apes Read Minds?Do Fish Feel Pain?Do We Still Need Doctors?Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?Does the Woman Exist?Doing without ConceptsDon't Believe Everything You ThinkDonald DavidsonDonald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the MentalDoubting Darwin?Dreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV-TR CasebookDworkin and His CriticsDying to KnowDynamics in ActionDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEccentricsEducational MetamorphosesEffective IntentionsElbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth WantingEmbodied Minds in ActionEmbodied RhetoricsEmbodied Selves and Divided MindsEmbryos under the MicroscopeEmergencies in Mental Health PracticeEmerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in BionanotechnologyEmotionEmotion and ConsciousnessEmotion and PsycheEmotion ExperienceEmotion RegulationEmotion, Evolution, And RationalityEmotional IntelligenceEmotional ReasonEmotional ReasonEmotional TruthEmotions in Humans and ArtifactsEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions, Value, and AgencyEmpathyEmpathy and AgencyEmpathy and Moral DevelopmentEmpathy and MoralityEmpathy in the Context of PhilosophyEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEnchanted LoomsEngaging BuddhismEngineering the Human GermlineEnjoymentEnvyEpicureanismEpistemic LuckEpistemologyEpistemology and EmotionsEpistemology and the Psychology of Human JudgmentEros and the GoodErotic MoralityEssays in Social NeuroscienceEssays in the Metaphysics of Mind Essays on Derek Parfit's On What MattersEssays on Free Will and Moral ResponsibilityEssays on Nonconceptual ContentEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssays on Reference, Language, and MindEssays on the Concept of Mind in Early-Modern PhilosophyEssential Sources in the Scientific Study of ConsciousnessEsssential Philosophy of PsychiatryEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindEthical Conflicts in PsychologyEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthical Issues in Human CloningEthical TheoryEthicsEthicsEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in PracticeEthics in Psychiatric ResearchEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEuropean Review of Philosophy. Vol. 5Everyday IrrationalityEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolutionEvolution and the Human MindEvolution's RainbowEvolutionary Origins of MoralityEvolutionary PsychologyExamined LifeExamined LivesExistential AmericaExistentialismExistentialism and Romantic LoveExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and NaturalismExperiments in EthicsExplaining ConsciousnessExplaining the BrainExplaining the Computational MindExplanatory PluralismExploding the Gene MythExploring HappinessExploring the SelfExpression and the InnerExpressions of JudgmentFaces of IntentionFact and ValueFact and Value in EmotionFacts, Values, and NormsFads and Fallacies in the Social SciencesFaith and Wisdom in ScienceFatherhoodFear of KnowledgeFearless SpeechFeeling Pain and Being in PainFeelings and EmotionsFeelings of BeingFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminism and Philosophy of ScienceFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist Interpretations of Rene DescartesFeminist TheoryField Notes from ElsewhereFinding Consciousness in the BrainFingerprints of GodFlesh in the Age of ReasonFolk Psychological NarrativesFolk Psychology Re-AssessedForces of HabitForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and RetributionFoucault 2.0Foucault and PhilosophyFoucault NowFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics of PowerFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFour Views on Free WillFrank Ramsey (1903-1930)Free WillFree WillFree WillFree WillFree Will and Action ExplanationFree Will and LuckFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will as an Open Scientific ProblemFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free WillFreedomFreedom and DeterminismFreedom And NeurobiologyFreedom and ResponsibiltyFreedom and ValueFreedom EvolvesFreedom RegainedFreedom vs. InterventionFreedom, Fame, Lying, and BetrayalFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud's AnswerFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFriedrich NietzscheFrom Chance to ChoiceFrom Clinic to ClassroomFrom Complexity to LifeFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the HumanitiesFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Passions to EmotionsFrom Philosophy to PsychotherapyFrontiers of ConsciousnessFrontiers of JusticeFurnishing the MindGalileo in PittsburghGenderGender and Mental HealthGender in the MirrorGender TroubleGenesGenes, Women, EqualityGenetic Nature/CultureGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetic SecretsGenocide's AftermathGenomes and What to Make of ThemGerman Idealism and the JewGerman PhilosophyGetting HookedGilles DeleuzeGlobal PhilosophyGluttonyGod and Phenomenal ConsciousnessGoffman's LegacyGoing Amiss in Experimental ResearchGoodness & AdviceGrassroots SpiritualityGrave MattersGrave MattersGreedGreek Models of Mind and SelfGut ReactionsHabilitation, Health, and AgencyHabits of MindHallucinationHandbook of BioethicsHandbook of EmotionsHappinessHappinessHappinessHappinessHappiness and EducationHappiness and the Good LifeHappiness Is OverratedHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHard LuckHarmful ThoughtsHaving the World in ViewHealing PsychiatryHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHealth, Illness and DiseaseHealth, Science, and Ordinary LanguageHegelHeidegger and a Metaphysics of FeelingHeidegger, Metaphysics and the Univocity of BeingHermann von Helmholtz's MechanismHermeneutics As PoliticsHeterophobiaHeterosyncraciesHeuristics and BiasesHeuristics and the LawHidden ResourcesHidden SelvesHiding from HumanityHigh Art LiteHistorical OntologyHistory of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyHistory, Historicity And ScienceHobbesHomosexualitiesHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisHot ThoughtHow Can I Be Trusted?How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?How Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains?How Do We Know Who We Are?How Emotions WorkHow Emotions WorkHow History Made the MindHow Images ThinkHow is Nature Possible?How Propaganda WorksHow Science WorksHow Scientific Practices MatterHow Scientists Explain DiseaseHow The Body Shapes The MindHow the Body Shapes the Way We ThinkHow the Mind Explains BehaviorHow the Mind Uses the BrainHow to Make Opportunity EqualHow to Solve the Mind-Body Problemhow to stop timeHow to Think More About SexHow We HopeHow We ReasonHuman CloningHuman Development, Language and the Future of MankindHuman EnhancementHuman Evolution, Reproduction, and MoralityHuman GoodnessHuman Identity and BioethicsHuman NatureHuman NatureHuman Nature and the Limits of ScienceHuman-Built WorldHumanismHumanism, What's That?HumanityHumans, Animals, MachinesHumeHumeHume on Motivation and VirtueHusserlHystoriesI of the VortexI Was WrongIdeas that MatterIdentifying the MindIdentity and Agency in Cultural WorldsIgnorance and ImaginationIllnessImagination and Its PathologiesImagination and the Meaningful BrainImagining NumbersImmortal RemainsImproving Nature?In Defense of an Evolutionary Concept of HealthIn Defense of SentimentalityIn Love With LifeIn Praise of Athletic BeautyIn Praise of the WhipIn Pursuit of HappinessIn Search of HappinessIn the Name of GodIn the Name of IdentityIn the Space of ReasonsIn Two MindsIncompatibilism's AllureIndividual Differences in Conscious ExperienceInfinity and PerspectiveInformation ArtsInformed Consent in Medical ResearchIngmar Bergman, Cinematic PhilosopherInhuman ThoughtsInner PresenceInsanityIntegrating Psychotherapy and PharmacotherapyIntegrity and the Fragile SelfIntelligent VirtueIntentionIntentionality, Deliberation and AutonomyIntentions and IntentionalityIntentions and IntentionalityInterpreting MindsInterpreting NietzscheIntroducing Greek PhilosophyIntrospection and ConsciousnessIntrospection VindicatedIntuition, Imagination, and Philosophical MethodologyIntuitionismInvestigating the Psychological WorldIrrationalityIrrationalityIs Academic Feminism Dead?Is It Me or My Meds?Is Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Is Oedipus Online?Is Science Neurotic?Is Science Value Free?Is the Visual World a Grand Illusion?Is There a Duty to Die?Issues in Philosophical CounselingJacques LacanJacques RancièreJacques RanciereJean-Paul SartreJohn McDowellJohn SearleJohn Searle's Ideas About Social RealityJohn Stuart MillJohn Stuart Mill and the Writing of CharacterJoint AttentionJokesJonathan EdwardsJudging and UnderstandingJustice for ChildrenJustice in RobesJustice, Luck, and KnowledgeKantKant and MiltonKant and the Fate of AutonomyKant and the Limits of AutonomyKant and the Role of Pleasure in Moral ActionKant on Freedom, Law, and HappinessKant on Moral AutonomyKant's Anatomy of EvilKant's Anatomy of the Intelligent MindKant's Theory of VirtueKarl JaspersKarl PopperKey Concepts in PhilosophyKierkegaardKierkegaard as PhenomenologistKierkegaard's Concept of DespairKierkegaard's MuseKinds of MindsKinds, Things, and StuffKnowing, Knowledge and BeliefsKnowledge MonopoliesKnowledge, Belief, and CharacterKnowledge, Possibility, and ConsciousnessLacanLack of CharacterLack of CharacterLanguageLanguage in ContextLanguage, Consciousness, CultureLanguage, Culture, and MindLanguage, Vision, and MusicLaw and the BrainLaw, Liberty, and PsychiatryLaws, Mind, and Free WillLeaving YouLectures on the History of Political PhilosophyLevelling the Playing FieldLiberal Education in a Knowledge SocietyLiberatory PsychiatryLife and ActionLife at the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, 1857-1997Life Is Not a Game of PerfectLife of the MindLife's FormLife, Death, & MeaningLife, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of UtilityLife, Sex, and IdeasLight in the Dark RoomLike a Splinter in Your MindLiving and Dying WellLiving NarrativeLiving Outside Mental IllnessLiving with DarwinLiving With One’s PastLockeLocke LockeLogic and the Art of Memory Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and LiteratureLooking for SpinozaLooking for The StrangerLost SoulsLOT 2LoveLoveLove's ConfusionsLove's VisionLove, Friendship, and the SelfLove, Sex & TragedyLuckyLudwig WittgensteinLustLyingMachine ConsciousnessMad for FoucaultMad TravelersMade with WordsMadness And Death In PhilosophyMadness and DemocracyMadness at HomeMadness Is CivilizationMaking Natural KnowledgeMaking Sense of EvolutionMaking Sense of Freedom and ResponsibilityMaking the DSM-5Making the Social WorldMaking TruthMale Female EmailMan, Beast, and ZombieMandated Reporting of Suspected Child AbuseManiaManic Depression and CreativityMapping the Edges and the In-betweenMapping the Future of BiologyMarcus AureliusMaster PassionsMatters of the MindMe++Meaning and Moral OrderMeaning and Value in a Secular AgeMeaning in LifeMeaning in Life and Why It MattersMeaning, Basic Self-Knowledge, and MindMeasuring HappinessMeasuring PsychopathologyMedia MadnessMedical Enhancement and PosthumanityMedicine and Philosophy in Classical AntiquityMedicine of the PersonMedicine, Mental Health, Religion, Science and Well-BeingMelancholy And the Care of the SoulMelancholy and the Otherness of GodMementoMemory and NarrativeMental ActionsMental CausationMental Causation and OntologyMental HealthMental Health At The CrossroadsMental Health Policy in BritainMerit, Meaning, and Human BondageMerleau-PontyMerleau-Ponty and the Possibilities of PhilosophyMetacognition and Theory of MindMetacreationMetaethical SubjectivismMetaethicsMetal and FleshMetaphors of MemoryMetapoliticsMethods in MindMichel FoucaultMill's UtilitarianismMindMindMind and ConsciousnessMind and CosmosMind and MechanismMind GamesMind in a Physical WorldMind in Everyday Life and Cognitive ScienceMind in LifeMind TimeMind's LandscapeMind, Brain and the Elusive SoulMind, Brain, and Free WillMind, Reason and ImaginationMinding MindsMindreadersMindreading AnimalsMinds and PersonsMinds, Brains, and LawMinds, Ethics, and ConditionalsMindshapingMindsightMindworldsMirror, MirrorMixed FeelingsMockingbird YearsModels of the SelfModern Social ImaginariesModern Theories of JusticeModernity and SubjectivityModernity and TechnologyMoody Minds DistemperedMoral BrainsMoral DimensionsMoral FailureMoral ImaginationMoral LiteracyMoral MachinesMoral ParticularismMoral PsychologyMoral Psychology and Human AgencyMoral Psychology, Volume 1Moral Psychology, Volume 2Moral Psychology, Volume 3Moral Psychology: Volume IVMoral RepairMoral Responsibility and Alternative PossibilitiesMoral TribesMoral Value and Human DiversityMorality and Self-InterestMorality in a Natural WorldMorality, Moral Luck and ResponsibilityMotherhoodMotive and RightnessMoving Beyond Prozac, DSM, and the New PsychiatryMultiple Analogies in Science and PhilosophyMultiple Identities & False MemoriesMusic, Madness, and the Unworking of LanguageMy Brain Made Me Do ItMy Double UnveiledMy WayNarrativeNarrative and IdentityNarrative MedicineNarrative PsychiatryNarrative Theory and the Cognitive SciencesNatural Ethical FactsNatural Kinds and Conceptual ChangeNatural MindsNatural-Born CybogsNaturalism and the First-Person PerspectiveNaturalism and the Human ConditionNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalized BioethicsNaturalizing the MindNatureNature and NarrativeNear Death ExperienceNeither Bad nor MadNeither Victim nor SurvivorNeuro-Philosophy and the Healthy MindNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNeurological Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience Neurophilosophy at WorkNeurophilosophy of Free WillNeuropoliticsNeuropsychoanalysis in PracticeNeuroscience and PhilosophyNew Essays on the Explanation of ActionNew Philosophy for a New MediaNew Versions of VictimsNew Waves in Philosophy of ActionNietzscheNietzsche and Buddhist PhilosophyNietzsche on Ethics and PoliticsNietzsche's TherapyNietzsche, Culture and EducationNietzsche: The Man and His PhilosophyNihil UnboundNoir AnxietyNormative EthicsNormativityNorms of NatureNotebooks 1951-1959Notes Toward a Performative Theory of AssemblyNothing So AbsurdOblivionOn AnxietyOn ApologyOn Being AuthenticOn Being AuthenticOn BeliefOn BetrayalOn BullshitOn DelusionOn DesireOn EmotionsOn HashishOn Human RightsOn Loving Our EnemiesOn Nature and LanguageOn PersonalityOn ReflectionOn Romantic LoveOn the EmotionsOn the Freud WatchOn the Government of the LivingOn the Human ConditionOn the InternetOn the Meaning of LifeOn the Philosophy of LawOn the Pragmatics of CommunicationOn the Punitive SocietyOn TruthOn Virtue EthicsOn What MattersOn What We Owe to Each OtherOne Hundred DaysOnflowOnly a Promise of HappinessOntology of ConsciousnessOpen MindedOpen Your EyesOrgans without BodiesOther MindsOur Last Great IllusionOur Own MindsOur Posthuman FutureOur StoriesOut of Its MindOut of Our HeadsOxford Guide to the MindOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPanic DisorderPanpsychismPanpsychism in the WestPartialityPassionate EnginesPassionate EnginesPathologies of BeliefPathologies of ReasonPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perceiving the WorldPerception & CognitionPerception and Basic BeliefsPerception, Hallucination, and IllusionPerceptual ExperiencePerfecting VirtuePerplexities of ConsciousnessPersistencePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal IdentityPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonal Identity and Fractured SelvesPersonhood and Health CarePersonsPersons and BodiesPersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPersons, Souls and DeathPerspectives on ImitationPerspectives on PragmatismPessimismPhenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal KnowledgePhenomenal ConsciousnessPhenomenal IntentionalityPhenomenology and ExistentialismPhenomenology and Philosophy of MindPhilosophersPhilosophers on MusicPhilosophers without GodsPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical DevicesPhilosophical Foundations of NeurosciencePhilosophical History and the Problem of ConsciousnessPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in Psychiatry IIPhilosophical MethodologyPhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophical Myths of the FallPhilosophical Perspectives on DepictionPhilosophical Perspectives on Technology and PsychiatryPhilosophical PracticePhilosophical Reflections on DisabilityPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophizing the EverydayPhilosophy and HappinessPhilosophy and LivingPhilosophy and PsychiatryPhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy and Science FictionPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the Interpretation of Pop CulturePhilosophy and the Moving ImagePhilosophy and the NeurosciencesPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy As FictionPhilosophy BitesPhilosophy Bites BackPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for LifePhilosophy in a New CenturyPhilosophy in an Age of SciencePhilosophy in Children's LiteraturePhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BodyPhilosophy of Film and Motion PicturesPhilosophy of LovePhilosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePhilosophy of MindPhilosophy of Mind and CognitionPhilosophy of Personal Identity and Multiple PersonalityPhilosophy of PsychologyPhilosophy of Public HealthPhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhilosophy of the Social SciencesPhilosophy on TapPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy the Day after TomorrowPhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy, Neuroscience and ConsciousnessPhilosophy, Politics, DemocracyPhotography and PhilosophyPhysical RealizationPhysicalism and Its DiscontentsPhysicalism and Mental CausationPhysicalism, or Something Near EnoughPhysician-Assisted DyingPillar of SaltPin-up GrrrlsPlatoPlatoPlato, Not Prozac!Platonic Ethics, Old and NewPluralistic CasuistryPolarities of ExperiencesPolitical EmotionsPopper, Objectivity and the Growth of KnowledgePornPorn StudiesPornography, Sex, and FeminismPortrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young ManPostcolonial DisordersPostpsychiatryPosttraumatic Stress DisorderPower and the SelfPower SplitPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical ConflictsPractical Identity and Narrative AgencyPractical PhilosophyPractical RulesPractical Tortoise RaisingPractically ProfoundPracticing Feminist Ethics in PsychologyPragmatic BioethicsPragmatismPragmatism, Old And NewPraise and BlamePredicative MindsPreferences and Well-BeingPrescriptions for the MindPresocraticsPrimary and Secondary QualitiesPrimates and PhilosophersPrivacyPrivileged AccessProblems in MindProblems of RationalityProzac As a Way of LifeProzac BacklashProzac on the CouchPsyche and SomaPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric Cultures ComparedPsychiatric Diagnosis and ClassificationPsychiatric EthicsPsychiatric HegemonyPsychiatric PowerPsychiatric SlaveryPsychiatry and Philosophy of SciencePsychiatry and ReligionPsychiatry as a Human SciencePsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry in SocietyPsychiatry in the New MilleniumPsychiatry in the Scientific ImagePsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsycho-Physical Dualism TodayPsychoanalysis and Narrative MedicinePsychoanalysis and the Philosophy of SciencePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and PhilosophyPsychology and the Question of AgencyPsychology's Interpretive TurnPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPublic PhilosophyPunishmentPure ImmanencePurple HazePursuing MeaningQuality of Life and Human DifferenceQueer PhilosophyQuestions for FreudQuestions for FreudQuine and Davidson on Language, Thought and RealityRaceRace in Contemporary MedicineRadiant CoolRadical AlterityRadical ExternalismRadical HopeRational and Social AgencyRational CausationRational Choice in an Uncertain WorldRationality + Consciousness = Free WillRationality and FreedomRationality and the Reflective MindRationality in ActionRawls, Dewey, and ConstructivismRe-creating MedicineRe-EmergenceRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReading AutobiographyReading Bernard WilliamsReading SartreReadings in the Philosophy of TechnologyReal MaterialismReal Natures and Familiar ObjectsReal ScienceRealism in ActionReason & EmancipationReason in ActionReason in PhilosophyReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReasoning About Rational AgentsReasoning in Biological DiscoveriesReasons from WithinReasons without RationalismReclaiming CognitionReclaiming the SoulReconceiving SchizophreniaReconstructing Reason and RepresentationReconstructing the Cognitive WorldRecreative MindsRediscovering EmotionRediscovering EmpathyReference and ExistenceReference and the Rational MindReflections On How We LiveReframing Disease ContextuallyRefusing CareRegulating SexReinventing the SoulRelativism and Human RightsRelativism and the Foundations of PhilosophyRelativism and the Foundations of PhilosophyReliable ReasoningReligion without GodRelying on OthersRemembering HomeResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility from the MarginsRestraining RageRethinking ExpertiseRethinking IntrospectionRethinking Mental Health and DisorderRethinking RapeRethinking the DSMRethinking the Sociology of Mental HealthRethinking the Western Understanding of the SelfReturn to ReasonRevolt, She SaidRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard Rorty's New PragmatismRightsRights, Democracy, and Fulfillment in the Era of Identity PoliticsRise And Fall of Soul And SelfRitalin NationRobert NozickRousseauRousseau and the Dilemmas of Modernity Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Derrida on DeconstructionRules, Reason, and Self-KnowledgeSaints, Scholars, 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Essays on Free Will and Moral ResponsibilityReview - Essays on Free Will and Moral Responsibility
by Nick Trakakis and Daniel Cohen (Editors)
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008
Review by Christian Perring
Mar 3rd 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 10)

One of the most interesting areas of contemporary philosophy is in free will and moral responsibility.  The debate is flourishing, with a flurry of important books and thriving debate in journal articles.  The philosophy group blog The Garden of Forking Paths has a list of significant books in the area, and gets good discussion.  Even though the question of free will is one of the longest-running in philosophy, recent debate has covered new ground, and the same is true for moral responsibility.  One of the reasons for this is that the area intersects with a wide range of others, in metaphysics, such as action theory and personal identity, experimental philosophy, applied ethics, meta-ethics, legal theory, and social and cognitive psychology. 

This collection contains essays by many of the best known names in the field, such as Derk Pereboom, Robert Kane, Michael McKenna, John Martin Fischer, and Saul Smilansky.  Several of the essays are available online: "Introduction," by Nick Trakakis and Daniel Cohen"Defending Hard Incompatibilism Again," by Pereboom, "Restrictivism is a Covert Compatibilism," by Neil Levy, in pre-publication form, "Moral Influence, Moral Responsibility," by Manuel Vargas, and in slightly earlier versions from the 2nd Online Philosophy Conference, "The Direct Argument: You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello." By John Martin Fischer, and "Some Further Thoughts on the Direct Argument," by David Widerker.  They form an impressive set of papers, suitable for professional philosophers, graduate students, and possible undergraduates doing advanced work in this area. 

Many of the papers are concerned with incompatibilism and libertarianism, either defending or criticizing these views.  The work of Pereboom forms a central target, so it is no surprise that his paper leads off the collection.  He set out his view at greatest length in his book Living Without Free Will, (Cambridge University Press, 2001).  On his view, determinism is incompatible with moral responsibility, which is the major claim he defends against many critics.  He further makes the claim that the world is deterministic in the way that rules out moral responsibility.  He also defends his view against the charge that it forces us to a massive change in our practices: he argues that we can still hold on to much of morality even if we no longer assign moral responsibility to people for their actions.  Pereboom argues that we can still rationally maintain our practices of praising and blaming people because it will be helpful for them to learn to behave in a civilized manner.  In his contribution to this collection, he explains his view of incompatiblism in some technical detail, and then proceeds systematically to defend it from criticisms by John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, David Widerker, Carl Ginet, Alfred Mele, and George Sher. 

Trakakis discusses Pereboom's claim that hard determinism is compatible with all of morality, taking issue with some parts of Pereboom's argument.  Trakakis distinguishes blameworthiness and praiseworthiness from moral wrongness and rightness, and also separates out moral obligation and moral permissibility.  He argues that these are indeed incompatible with determinism, but that they can be reconceived on a consequentialist approach to morality. 

Trevor Picciotta considers the hard determinism of Ted Honderish and Pereboom, and argues that the objective meaningfulness of life is indeed incompatible with determinism.  Further, he argues that the notion of subjective meaningfulness that they offer in its place is too thin to be satisfying. 

Manuel Vargas, taking a position similar to that shared by Pereboom and Trakakis, argues for the moral influence theory that praising and blaming are justified by their future effects on people.  He argues that his version of the theory evades the objections that most philosophers accept to older versions of the theory.

J.J.C. Smart, in a short paper, argues that the libertarian conception of free will is an illusion. 

Neil Levy argues against Robert Kane's libertarianism as set out in The Significance of Free Will (Oxford University Press, 1996).  Libertarians about free will generally argue that free will is incompatible with determinism, and most of the time we are not free, but occasionally there are choices we make which are not determined by the past, and these choices are free.  Levy calls such views "restrictivist" and points out that Kane believes it is a virtue of his theory that there are more incidents of free will than on other libertarian theories, so it is less restricitivist.  Levy argues that while Kane believes that he has evaded on central objection to his view, a similar objection can be put to it which shows it to be mistaken.  It's a somewhat technical paper, given to labeling principles with letters such as UR, SET, WET, and SFW.   As such, it demands careful attention. 

Kane then responds to Levy's criticisms, defending his libertarian theory, and doing more to spell out his crucial notion of self-forming actions (SFAs).  He places emphasis on the importance of character formation and the relation between SFAs and one's responsibility for the consequences of one's actions. 

Ishtiyaque Haji argues that libertarianism in both simple and sophisticated forms implies that it is a matter of luck whether we have some moral obligations, or as he puts it, that obligation is luck-infected. He concludes that this is also true of our personal well-being, and he says he finds this a disappointing conclusion. 

Michael McKenna defends compatibilism against objections from philosophers such as Galen Strawson who make what he calls an Ultimacy Argument, that in order to be morally responsible for one's actions, one must be a self-causing being, but humans are not self-causing beings, and so are not morally responsible.  McKenna argues that the central premise of the argument is highly implausible.  He then turns to an incompatibilist version of the argument from Saul Smilansky.  This refines the central premise of the argument to say that in order to be morally responsible for an action, one must be its ultimate source, and then he spells out the meaning of 'ultimate source.'  McKenna proceeds to argue that there is no good reason to believe this refined premise.  He further argues that it is possible to construct a compatibilist version of a concept of an ultimate source, which ipso facto is compatible with indeterminism. 

John Martin Fischer addresses David Widerker's paper "Farewell to the Direct Argument," published in the Journal of Philosophy in 2002.  The Direct Argument, stemming from the work of Peter van Inwagen, aims to show that moral responsibility is incompatible with determinism, directly, without going having to assess whether we have free will.  Fisher agrees with Widerker that the Direct Argument is invalid, but he finds problems with Widerker's proof of this.  He discusses this, argues that in fact the Direct Argument is best understood as one of a family of direct arguments, all of which are flawed.  

David Wideker's paper is a response to Fischer's.  He defends his original argument, conceding that Fischer is right in one criticism but arguing that ultimately the original argument can be mended. 

Saul Smilansky addresses the connection between moral responsibility and fairness in the context of compatibilism and incompatibilism.  It is a general discussion of the benefits of thinking about how compatibilists and incompatibilists can accommodate the concept of fairness, and Smilansky argues that engaging in this discussion helps sharpen our understanding of the relation between hard determinism and moral responsibility.  In the course of his paper, he makes some criticisms of R. Jay Wallace's compatibilist work on the relationship between moral responsibility and fairness, arguing that he does not take enough account of the concerns of incompatibilists.

Daniel Cohen and Lauren Saling contribute the final paper, which I will discuss in more detail.  They argue that there is no significant moral distinction between weak-willed action and compulsive or addictive action, so agents are just as morally responsible for weak-willed actions as for their addictions.  Despite the provocative title of their paper, "Addiction Is No Excuse," they do not make any argument as to whether addiction is a moral excuse, and they end by saying that they are sympathetic to the view that we are not morally responsible for either weak-willed or addictive actions.  This is a surprising claim, and quite counter-intuitive.  The standard way of thinking about the difference between the two kinds of action is that in weak-willed action, one could have refrained from doing something that one did not value/believe was best/want to want, while in addictive action, one is unable to stop oneself.  Thus the standard view is that we are morally responsible for weak-willed action but not for addictive action.  Cohen and Saling first discuss Harry Frankfurt's case of the willing addict -- someone who likes being addicted and has no desire to change.  On Frankfurt's view, the willing addict is morally responsible for their addictive actions, while, roughly, unwilling addicts are not morally responsible.  Cohen and Saling argue Frankfurt's view is open to a couple of interpretations, but on either interpretation, weakness and compulsion are in the same basket.  The basic idea for Frankfurt is that one is free if one wills what one wants to will, and this applies equally to addictive action and weak-willed action.  So it is impossible for there to be free weak-willed action on Frankfurt's approach.  Cohen and Saling apply a parallel criticism to the analyses of free will by Gary Watson and Susan Wolf, who they argue both deploy Frankfurt's 'one level up' approach to the freedom of one's actions.  Watson's view is, on their interpretation, that one is free if one values the action one performs.  This implies that it is impossible to freely act against one's own values.  The authors then address Susan Wolf's view of freedom, who argues that a freedom is, basically, rational action, and a rational, or normatively competent agent, will always respond to reason, which rules out any free irrational action. 

Cohen and Saling briefly address the concept of irresistible desires, arguing that it is basically incoherent, on the grounds that intentional actions must be mediated by rationalizing beliefs and desires, so actions stemming from truly irresistible desires would more like reflexes. If this argument were strong, then we would have to give a more refined definition of addiction that drops reference to irresistible desires and instead talks of strong desires that are very hard to resist, and this would certainly require reconfiguring the distinction between compulsion and weakness of will.  However, it is not at all clear that it would make the distinction impossible. The authors themselves continue to use the traditional distinction between weakness and compulsion in the following two sections. 

 They then move on to discuss Watson's skepticism about weakness of will.  He argues that there is no metaphysical difference between compulsion and weakness of will, but that the distinction lies in our normative expectations of people: weak-willed actions are those we could reasonably expect the agent to resist, while compulsive actions are those that we do not reasonably expect the agent to resist.  This expectation is based on our moral norms rather than metaphysics or science.  This expectation is based on what we could have expected the agent to do previously to avoid being in a situation in which she would perform the action.  This is to say, "weak agents, unlike their compulsive counterparts, would have controlled themselves had they (earlier) developed normal capacities for control" (257).  Cohen and Saling press the question of why the agent did not develop the necessary self control.  If she tried, but were unable to succeed, then they say this reduces weakness to compulsion.  If she could have done it but did not try, then we can again ask for an explanation of why not.  The authors say "it isn't clear how such an explanation can avoid a regressive appeal to ever higher-order levels of capacity."  This poses an interesting challenge to Watson, but does not end the argument.

Cohen and Saling attempt to block some possible ways to address this challenge by looking at the work of Alfred Mele in his Irrationality.  Mele argues that weakness of will is possible because if someone had employed better alternative tactics to stop themselves from doing what they do not value, they would have been able to stop.  In contrast, someone who is not free would have been able to stop, no matter what strategies they employed which were immediately available to them.  Cohen and Saling press the question of why the agent did not employ these effective methods of self-control if they could have.  First, they point out that if the reason was simply misjudgment or inaction, then this does not capture an important intuitive element to weakness.  It is not clear that this is a strong objection, especially if the misjudgment or inaction was due to unintentional self-deception.  However, it is not their main objection.  They argue that it the agent's fault is cognitive, an error in judgment about what they would need to do in order to overcome temptation, then in order for the agent to be blameworthy, there would need to be a further explanation of why they made this error, and so on ad infinitum

There are a couple of points to make regarding this objection to Mele.  First, it is odd for Cohen and Saling to be addressing this in the context of Watson's normative view, since Mele's distinction between weak-willed action and compulsion is metaphysical, based on counterfactuals, rather than normative expectations.  Maybe their assumption is that a normative distinction must ultimately rest on a metaphysical distinction, which is a common assumption in the literature.  Be that as it may, it is not clear why there needs to be a search for an ultimate explanation.  Consider an alcoholic A with a glass of wine before her and drinks it and the dieter D eats the piece of cake before her.  Can we make sense of the counterfactuals that A could not have resisted the temptation while D could have?  If we assume the traditional definition of addiction, and further assume that addiction is possible, then that can be enough for a moral distinction.  It seems that Cohen and Saling are assuming that we can only make a moral distinction if there is some deeper moral explanation of the difference, but they don't justify this assumption. 

The argument gets a little clearer when Cohen and Saling move on to discuss a proposal by Jeanette Kennett and Michael Smith on distinguishing weak-willed action from addictive action, in their 1996 article in Analysis, "Frog and Toad Lose Control."  Their approach is to spell out the difference in terms of dispositions to exercise control, very much along the lines of Mele's approach.  Frog has the ability to stop himself from eating cookies by thinking of them as lumps of fat, while Toad lacks such an ability.  After some quibbling about possible worlds and counterfactuals that doesn't advance the argument much, Cohen and Saling fall back on the empirical claim that true addiction is rare, and that most addicts are indeed able to control their behavior.  This falling back on an empirical claim when the conceptual claim is not faring well is not very convincing, especially in the light of further empirical work on ego depletion, which suggests that it is indeed very difficult for addicts to maintain self-control for a sustained period of time.  They may be able to resist temptation for a short period, given incentives, but their stores of self-control then become depleted. In short, Cohen and Saling do not make a strong case against the intuitively plausible view that for some people it is very difficult to resist temptation, while for others, it is not so difficult. 

Cohen and Saling basically acknowledge this point in their final section of the paper, which addresses the question whether responsibility can be a matter of degree.  They argue that even if it is hard for some people to resist temptation, this should not count as an excuse.  They make their argument by considering a comparison between the reader and the golfer Greg Norman.  It is harder for the reader to sink a putt in one than Greg Norman.  If Norman fails to exercise his ability to sink the putt, he is more to blame than you, because it is easier for him to do sink the putt?  Cohen and Saling provide an argument regarding the frequencies of success for activities, but they seem to miss the fundamental point about the difficulty of an activity, which is ultimately not about the behavioral outcomes but rather about the effort and concentration required to do it.  They say their fundamental objection to contemplating degrees of responsibility is that "it makes blame for a particular act of wrongdoing relative to blame for other instances of wrongdoing" (p. 261). However, this again judges the blame on the behavioral outcomes rather than what is going on the wrongdoer's mind, and the difficulty he has in refraining from acting.  They say that blame is attached to the wrongness of the action and should not be relative to what else the agent did during his life.  However, they don't support this claim, and indeed, there are many instances where how much we blame someone does vary depending on how else they have live their life. 

In short, Cohen and Saling do not make a strong case for their claim that there is no principled distinction between compulsive action and weak-willed action. 

Going against custom, I have left discussion of the book's introduction until the end.  This is because it seems that the introduction was itself written after the other papers, and departs from the editors' original thoughts in its exposition of a Wittgensteinian approach to free will.    After discussing some of the difficulties of achieving a theory-neutral account of free-will, Trakakis and Cohen turn to ideas in the Tractatus about the difficulty of expressing some truths such as those regarding free will.  They suggest that on this view, both determinism and its denial cannot be meaningfully affirmed and are bound to result in nonsense.  They contrast this with the approach of the Investigations, in which meaning is rooted in the use of words.  On this later view, words such as freedom and responsibility would not have a hidden meaning to be revealed by a complicated theory.  Rather, the words find their meaning in their everyday use.  The editors suggest that belief in freewill can be seen not as a scientific or empirical belief but rather more as a way of living, similar to Wittgenstein's understanding of religious belief.  They draw comparisons with Sartre's view of freedom and the Kantian view that freedom is a precondition of action and so must be presupposed.

On this view, the sort of philosophical debate about free will conducted in most of the rest of the book occurs because language has gone on holiday, and has become divorced from its grounding in everyday life.  It's rather odd that the editors have written an introduction that casts doubt on much of the project engaged in the papers they are introducing.  The editors also do not delve into their suggestive ideas much, especially with regard to controversies in everyday use about when people are free.  People tend to describe themselves as lacking freedom when they have mental illnesses such as addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and, at least retrospectively, during periods of mania.  If one were going to explore the editors' Wittgensteinian suggestion about the free will debate, one would want to look at the ways that debates over people's freedom have gone in the public domain, as opposed to in philosophy journals, to see how language is being used and what sorts of factors are taken to rob people of their freedom.  This might help us consider what sorts of claims about unfree action and diminished responsibility are reasonable and which are outlandish.

Overall, this is a valuable collection that advances the philosophical debate over free will and moral responsibility.  Researchers in the field will want to add it to their libraries.

Link: Publisher's page for book

© 2009 Christian Perring

Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.


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