Read Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will by Alfred R. Mele Free Online
Book Title: Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will|
The author of the book: Alfred R. Mele
Edition: Oxford University Press, USA
Date of issue: October 1st 2014
ISBN 13: 9780199371624
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 338 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.3
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Does free will exist? The question has fueled heated debates spanning from philosophy to psychology and religion. The answer has major implications, and the stakes are high. To put it in the simple terms that have come to dominate these debates, if we are free to make our own decisions, we are accountable for what we do, and if we aren't free, we're off the hook. There are neuroscientists who claim that our decisions are made unconsciously and are therefore outside of our control and social psychologists who argue that myriad imperceptible factors influence even our minor decisions to the extent that there is no room for free will. According to philosopher Alfred R. Mele, what they point to as hard and fast evidence that free will cannot exist actually leaves much room for doubt. If we look more closely at the major experiments that free will deniers cite, we can see large gaps where the light of possibility shines through. In Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will, Mele lays out his opponents' experiments simply and clearly, and proceeds to debunk their supposed findings, one by one, explaining how the experiments don't provide the solid evidence for which they have been touted. There is powerful evidence that conscious decisions play an important role in our lives, and knowledge about situational influences can allow people to respond to those influences rationally rather than with blind obedience. Mele also explores the meaning and ramifications of free will. What, exactly, does it mean to have free will -- is it a state of our soul, or an undefinable openness to alternative decisions? Is it something natural and practical that is closely tied to moral responsibility? Since evidence suggests that denying the existence of free will actually encourages bad behavior, we have a duty to give it a fair chance.
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Read information about the authorAlfred Remen Mele is an American philosopher. He has been the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University since 2000. He specializes in irrationality, akrasia, intentionality and philosophy of action.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Mele attended Wayne State University, and received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1979. He took a position at Davidson College in 1979 as a visiting professor, which led to a tenured position at Davidson, where he remained for 21 years until accepting his position with Florida State.
Mele explores the concepts of autonomy or self-rule and the concept of self-control. as they relate to terms like "free will."
Without committing himself to the idea that human autonomy is compatible with determinism or incompatible (a position held by both libertarians and incompatibilists), Mele provides arguments in support of autonomous agents for both positions. He is, as he says, "officially agnostic about the truth of compatibilism" and describes his position as "agnostic autonomism."
Mele proposed a two-stage model of "Modest Libertarianism" that follows Daniel Dennett's 1978 "Valerian" model for decision making. Like Dennett, Mele requires that the indeterminism should come early in the overall process. He describes the latter - decision - part of the process as compatibilist (effectively determinist).
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