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A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will (Fundamentals of Philosophy) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 26. Mai 2005

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  • Taschenbuch: 206 Seiten
  • Verlag: Oxford University Press (26. Mai 2005)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 019514970X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195149708
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 20,8 x 1,8 x 13,7 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
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engagingly written...a gripping and an absolutely pivotal period of operatic history, Daniel Snowman, Opera Now A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will will replace all other introductions to the subject. Saul Smilansky. Times Literary Supplement excellent survey of the contemporary free-will debate...Kane...does such a good job that A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will will replace all other introductions to the subject. While the book is accessible to the lay reader, students of this problem will also read it with benefit. Saul Smilanksy, Times Literary Supplement


Accessible to students with no background in the subject, A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will provides an extensive and up-to-date overview of all the latest views on this central problem of philosophy. Opening with a concise introduction to the history of the problem of free will--and its place in the history of philosophy--the book then turns to contemporary debates and theories about free will, determinism, and related subjects like moral responsibility, coercion, compulsion, autonomy, agency, rationality, freedom, and more. Classical compatibilist and new compatibilist theories of free will are considered along with the latest incompatibilist or libertarian theories and the most recent skeptical challenges to free will. Separate chapters are devoted to the relation of free will to moral responsibility and ethics; to modern science; and to religious questions about predestination, divine foreknowledge, and human freedom. Numerous down-to-earth examples and challenging thought experiments enliven the text. The book is an ideal addition to introduction to philosophy, metaphysics, and free will courses.

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Von teuto am 20. Juni 2012
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Das Buch ist wahrscheinlich die beste Einführung in das Problem der Willensfreiheit auf dem Markt. Gemessen an seinem Umfang bietet es einen sehr guten Überblick und dank der gelungenen Darstellung auch schon Hilfen zu einem gewissen Durchblick. Für Studenten der Philosophie fast ein Muss, für viele andere sicher auch sehr hilfreich und gut lesbar.
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47 von 48 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Wonderful Introduction and Research Tool 18. Februar 2006
Von Neal Judisch - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Robert Kane's "Contemporary Introduction to Free Will" is hands down the finest text in its class. Professors who wish to include a component on free will in their introductory courses, or who are looking for a scholarly and accessible text for a class on free will and related issues, will find in Kane's text a thoughtful, subtle, and above all lucid and authoritative presentation of the problem of freedom in its many dimensions, as well as a charitable and well-informed assessment of historical and contemporary stances on the problem of free will.

Most introductory textbooks in metaphysics or general philosophy which include a discussion of free will fall short in obvious respects: the author(s) either present a rather outdated picture of the free will debate or, more commonly, for the sake of accessibility "dumb down" the alternative approaches to free will and the central arguments deployed by proponents of those approaches. Kane's volume avoids both those pitfalls: his book is thoroughly contemporary (without ignoring the historical roots of the free will problem or the continuity that exists between historical and up-to-date debates on the topic), and it is simultaneously intelligible to the beginner and philosophically precise, a very difficult balance to strike. In addition, Kane provides a very useful bibliography for those who wish to pursue further research on the various problems of free will -- including the metaphysics of free agency, the compatibility of freedom and determinism, the relation of freedom and determinism to moral responsibility, and the compatibility of creaturely freedom with divine omniscience -- pointing both the student and the professional philosopher to the most significant traditional and recent contributions to those questions. These features make Kane's book the best choice both for beginning classes and for upper-level and even graduate-level courses. Highly recommended.
28 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
One look at 'Kane, A Contemp. Intro. to Free Will' 3. März 2008
Von Wallace Kleck - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
--my point of view: PhD, geology, retired teacher, 74, minor present study of philosophy; main interest--'what's this Free Will stuff?'--
I would suggest that Kane probably wrote this as a introductry college suplement to a philosophy class; as such it is very good. For the non-student, non-philosophy student it is a bit heavy in the technical terminology of philosophy; however, Kane writes well and provides enough explanation to 'slide around' some of the heavy terminology--it is still not a quick read.
For me, this provided both an introduction to technical philosophy as well as some ideas on how experts in the field approach and think about Free Will. In that sense, the book did exactly what I wanted.
23 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good Introduction to the Free Will Debate 21. Dezember 2007
Von J. Stewart - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
This book gives a clear and concise description of various philosophical positions on the free will debate. Kane opens the discussion by defining the free will problem; he distinguishes between "surface" freedoms, which allow us to do what we want without constraints from external agents, versus "deeper" freedom, which implies that an individual's decision has alternate possibilities available (i.e., if the clock could somehow be turned back--given the exact same causal events of history, individual experience, etc., leading up to a decision--that an individual could possibly make a different decision). In other words, surface freedom entails that individuals can do what they want while deeper freedom means that they can also will what they will. Kane then proceeds to discuss determinism (the idea that all actions/events are determined by previous actions/events) and the position that a deterministic universe is either compatible or incompatible with the notion of free will (i.e., compatibilism or incompatibilism, respectively). Kane also discusses moral responsibility, along with various arguments concerning its relationship to free will and determinism, and the free will problem as it applies to the traditional religious views of predestination and omniscience.

I thought that Kane did an excellent job of presenting the arguments both for and against the various free will positions. He gave a number of bibliographical references in each chapter where the reader could go for more information on a particular position or argument. Kane seems to hold a libertarian view (i.e., he asserts that free will and determinism are incompatible and that free will exists such that determinism is false) but I thought that he fairly expressed the other viewpoints and honestly noted some difficulties with his own position. Also, his personal position does not come into focus until the last part of the book such that the book as a whole seems to provide a fair description of all sides and a fine introduction to the debate.

In the last part of the book, Kane argues for the deeper sense of free will by postulating what he terms as self-forming actions (actions that, in some sense, allow individuals to shape their own wills) and argues that these actions translate into ultimate responsibility (in the sense that because our wills would be our own creation, individuals are ultimately responsible as opposed to genes, environment, a creator, etc.). I understand the appeal of such an argument but it seemed to me that the rationale was molded into an initial assumption of freedom of the will (in the deeper sense defined above) while the argument for the existence of this deeper freedom seemed lacking to me and remained non-intuitive based on opposing arguments in preceding chapters. Regardless, I liked this book very much and I would recommend it to others who are interested in learning about the various philosophical positions concerning freedom of the will, determinism and their relationship to moral responsibility.
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Clear and unbiased 13. April 2009
Von Peter Clarke - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
As a neurobiologist interested in the philosophy of free will I found this tremendously helpful. Kane is perhaps the world's leading exponent of libertarianism, but this book is not at all biased towards his own position. He gives an even-handed account of all the major positions with great clarity. He somehow manages to combine the precision of the analytical philosopher with the comprehensibility of the teacher.
11 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A good introduction to the contemporary debate but limited in scope 4. Juli 2009
Von Jean-marc Lepain - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Let me warn the reader, Robert Kane's Book is "A CONTEMPORARY Introduction to Free Will", not an Introduction to free will.The Book focuses mostly on contemporary debates whose origin usually does not go back beyond the last quarter of the twentieth century. It is the reason that Kane's book is so relevant. It sums up for a wider public the collection of essays published by various authors in his "Oxford Handbook of Free Will".

Kane is considered as one of the leading contemporary philosophers on free will and he has developed his own theory. Kane considers alternative possibilities as a necessary but insufficient condition of free will which requires "ultimate responsibility", i-e a moral or rational control of the subject on his action. A free act is an act we can claim responsibility for and there must be sufficient reasons for acting the way we act. All chapter 12 is devoted to this question. Although Kane describes himself as a libertarian, his position often come close to compatibilism and when reading the first chapters of the book I found that the general tone of the book is leading more toward compatibilism than libertarianism.

The contemporary discussion on Free Will is so complex that usually the public never hear about that important debate. Nevertheless Robert Kane has made a wonderful job, guiding us through all the arguments and counter arguments. It gives the impression of watching a chess contest by world class players. Each move seems to be decisive until comes the counter move. In another essay Kane has called free will a "labyrinth" and the general impression given by the book is that the debate will remain inconclusive. It is not to surprise me. McGinn in is book "Problems in Philosophy" has demonstrated that the problem of free will, like the problem of consciousness, will never be solved because of our cognitive limitations. It does not mean that the debate is not important. Even if the problem does not have a rational solution, no one can be a serious thinker without embracing one of the three positions between libertarianism, determinism and compatibilism because adopting one these positions determines the type of moral theory one might adopt.

I do not give five stars to the book because of two weaknesses. The first weakness is the lack of proper definition of determinism. Kane gives a very narrow definition of determinism that makes determinism almost synonymous with necessity. In fact he is mostly referring to singular determinism, the determinism of local events that can be inevitable or necessary, not of general determinism that see determinism as the general structure of the universe. For him determinism is "a kind of necessity, but it is a conditional necessity". This is very different from general determinism which is the belief that any event the world, including human behaviour, is the result of an unbroken causal chain. By choosing this narrow approach Kane brush away all the problem of determinism in science. The chapter on "Free Will and the Modern Science" is extremely weak, probably because Kane is not personally interested in this kind of debate.

The second weakness is a consequence of the first one. Although the book claims to be an introduction to the contemporary debate on fee will, it is far from covering all the spectrum of recent theories. Kane does not present a convincing description of the naturalist and physicalist view on free will that present free will as "a post hoc rationalization, a delusion" (Ramachandran). Once again it is not that Kane is ignorant of the subject. Occasionally we find a few references to Smilansky's Free Will and Illusion, and Double's The Non-Reality of Free Will. But I did not find any reference to Wegner important book "The Illusion of Conscious Will" which was published three years before Kane's Introduction.

Being myself more a compatibilist than a libertarian I do not think that Kane has made a good job in presenting a neutral description of determinism of the kind you expect to find in an introductory book for students and the general public and by ignoring some of his adversaries main objections he has weakened his own defence of libertarianism. However, this sort of book being so rare I consider that its reading is mandatory for any one interested in the question of free will.
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