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The Freedom of the Will

J. R. Lucas

Published in print September 1970 | ISBN: 9780198243434
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680687 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198243434.001.0001
The Freedom of the Will

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The three great problems of philosophy, according to Kant, are God, freedom, and immortality. Of these, freedom, that is, the Freedom of the Will, is the one most accessible to reason, and has continued to perplex us to the present day. We have a profound conviction of freedom. We know we are free. Yet when we think of ourselves from a scientific point of view, we do not see how we can be free. Kant was right in thinking freedom to be an unavoidable problem set by pure reason, though wrong in despairing of the power of reason to solve it. For the very fact that freedom is a problem for reason is itself a reason for believing that we are free. Many men have sensed this, but the argument is extremely difficult to articulate and assess. This book attempts to reformulate this argument in formal terms with the aid of a profound theorem of mathematical logic discovered by Gödel in 1929. It is a controversial argument, and the author tries to meet objections raised against it, for he believes it to be ultimately a decisive argument which will refute the one sort of determinism — physical determinism — which seriously worries men today.

Keywords: freedom; Gödel; Kant; mathematical logic; physical determinism

Book.  190 pages. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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Table of Contents

Freedom and Philosophy in The Freedom of the Will

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Responsibility and Freedom in The Freedom of the Will

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The Common Sense Reply in The Freedom of the Will

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Necessity and Constraint in The Freedom of the Will

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Determinism without Tears in The Freedom of the Will

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Determinism and Responsibility in The Freedom of the Will

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Prediction in The Freedom of the Will

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Causes and Explanations in The Freedom of the Will

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Partial and Complete Explanations in The Freedom of the Will

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