Science and Freedom in Thomas Reid

James A. Harris

in Of Liberty and Necessity

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780199268603
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603136 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

Science and Freedom in Thomas Reid

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  • History of Western Philosophy


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The belief that we are free in our choices and actions is one of Reid’s ‘first principles’, or ‘principles of common sense’. As such, it cannot directly be proven to be true. Reid’s strategy is to establish the naturalness and universality of the belief, and to refute all arguments which purport to show the belief to be false. He is particularly concerned to answer Priestley’s claim that necessitarianism is the conclusion reached by the application of Newtonian method to human action.

Keywords: Reid; Hume; Priestley; common sense; motives; Newton

Chapter.  11477 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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