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Freedom from the Inside Out


Since the death of strong reductionism, philosophers of science have expanded the horizons of their understandings of the physical, mental, and social worlds, and the complex relations among them. To give one interesting example, John Dupre has endorsed a notion of downward causation: ‘higher-level’ events causing events at a ‘lower’ ontological level. For example, my intention to type the letter ‘t’ causes the particular motions experienced by all the atoms in my left forefinger as I type it. The proper explanation of the motions of an atom at the tip of my forefinger primarily involves my intentions, rather than (for example) the immediately preceding motions of other nearby atoms, or any other such particle–level events.

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Dupre John 1993. The Disorder of Things (Harvard University Press).
Dupre John 1996. ‘The Solution to the Problem of Free Will’, Philosophical Perspectives, 10, 385402.
Fischer JohnThe Metaphysics of Free Will (Blackwell, 1994)
Forrest Peter 1985. ‘Backward Causation in Defence of Free Will’, MIND, 210–17.
Horwich PaulAsymmetries in Time (MIT Press, 1987).
Kant Immanuel. The Critique of Practical Reason, trans. Lewis White Beck, Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1956.
Price, Huw Time's Arrow and Archimedes’ Point (Oxford University Press, 1996).
Russell Bertrand ‘On the Notion of Cause’, Address to the Aristotelian Society, reprinted in Mysticism and Logic (Allen & Unwin, 1917).
van Inwagen Peter, ‘The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism’, Philosophical Studies 27, 185–99.
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Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements
  • ISSN: 1358-2461
  • EISSN: 1755-3555
  • URL: /core/journals/royal-institute-of-philosophy-supplements
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