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Thinking about Free Will


  • Date Published: March 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316617656

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About the Authors
  • Peter van Inwagen, author of the classic book An Essay on Free Will (1983), has established himself over the last forty years as a leading figure in the philosophical debate about the problem of free will. This volume presents eleven influential essays from throughout his career, as well as two new and previously unpublished essays, 'The Problem of Fr** W*ll' and 'Ability'. The essays include discussions of determinism, moral responsibility, 'Frankfurt counterexamples', the meaning of 'the ability to do otherwise', and the very definition of free will, as well as critiques of writings on the topic by Daniel Dennett and David Lewis. An introduction by the author discusses the history of his thinking about free will. The volume will be a valuable resource for those looking to engage with van Inwagen's significant contributions to this perennially important topic.

    • Assembles van Inwagen's most influential  essays in one place, making the thinking of this major author easily accessible to readers, whether revisiting or discovering his work
    • Presents a 'classical' incompatibilist approach to perennial problems concerning free will, determinism, and moral responsibility
    • Previously unpublished chapters and a new introduction develop debate around this central topic still further
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'These are all superb papers. In addition to Peter van Inwagen's classic and indispensable contributions to the free will debate, Thinking about Free Will includes illuminating discussion of whether there is anything we all mean by 'free will', how we should think about the problem of free will, and whether free will remains a mystery. It is frank and fascinating.' Michael Almeida, University of Texas, San Antonio

    'This volume brings together essays written over the course of more than three decades by one of the world's leading scholars on free will. An outstanding and informative collection, it displays the depth and rigor of van Inwagen's groundbreaking arguments on one of the greatest problems in philosophy. Both researchers and students who work on the cluster of issues connected to free agency - including ability, moral responsibility, determinism, desert, and natural laws - will appreciate having this illuminating volume.' Laura Ekstrom, College of William and Mary, Virginia

    'No one writes more sensibly about the traditional philosophical problem of free will than does Peter van Inwagen. This book, a collection of his essays on free will, ought to join his An Essay on Free Will, the best modern treatment of the topic, on the shelf of anyone seriously considering the cluster of issues which constitute the traditional philosophical problem of free will. It is an excellent volume.' Peter A. Graham, Notre Dame Philosophical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316617656
    • length: 238 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Ability and responsibility
    2. On two arguments for compatibilism
    3. Compatibilistic reflections
    4. Critical study of Dennett's Elbow Room
    5. When is the will free?
    6. Moral responsibility, determinism, and the ability to do otherwise
    7. Free will remains a mystery
    8. Genes, statistics, and desert
    9. Freedom to break the laws
    10. How to think about the problem of free will
    11. A promising argument
    12. Preface to the French translation of An Essay on Free Will
    13. The problem of fr** w*ll
    14. Ability

  • Author

    Peter van Inwagen, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
    Peter van Inwagen is the John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. He is the author of An Essay on Free Will (1983), and his numerous other publications include Material Beings (1990), Ontology, Identity, and Modality: Essays in Metaphysics (Cambridge, 2002), The Problem of Evil (2006), and Existence: Essays in Ontology (Cambridge, 2014).

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