An Essay on Free Will
Van Inwagen (Peter)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Cover Blurb

  1. This book is a defence of the thesis that free will and determinism are incompatible, and an exploration of some of the consequences of this thesis. Free will is understood as the power to act otherwise than one in fact does, and determinism is understood as the thesis that the past and the laws of nature together determine a unique future. The author argues that determinism is incompatible with free will because determinism entails that one's present acts are determined by factors outside one's control.
  2. Several arguments in favour of the compatibility of free will and determinism are examined and rejected, the most important being the argument that free will in fact entails determinism, since if one's acts were undetermined by one's past, they would be mere random occurrences. The author goes on to argue that moral responsibility requires free will; and that, since the reality of moral responsibility is not in doubt, and since there is no good reason to accept determinism, one should accept the existence of free will and reject determinism.
  3. The book also contains discussions of:-
    • the problem of future contingencies,
    • the paradigm-case argument,
    • the thesis that 'can' statements are disguised conditionals,
    • the relation between general laws and singular causal statements,
    • the individuation1 of events, deliberation, and
    • the nature of moral responsibility.
  4. Review: 'This is an important book, and no one interested in issues which touch on the free will controversy will want to ignore it ... The book is a model of clarity, and it deserves a wide readership. I have little doubt that it will make a significant contribution to the issues it addresses.'
    … Hilary Kornblith in Ethics
  5. Peter van Inwagen is Professor of Philosophy at Syracuse University, New York. He edited Time and Cause: Essays Presented to Richard Taylor (Reidel, 1980), and co-edited Alan Plantinga: A Profile (Reidel, 1983).

BOOK COMMENT:

Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2002 reprint. Hardback.



"Van Inwagen (Peter) - An Essay on Free Will: Preface"

Source: Van Inwagen - An Essay on Free Will, 1983, Preface



"Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Problems and How We Shall Approach Them"

Source: Van Inwagen - An Essay on Free Will, 1983, Chapter 1



"Van Inwagen (Peter) - Fatalism"

Source: Van Inwagen - An Essay on Free Will, 1983, Chapter 2



"Van Inwagen (Peter) - Three Arguments for Compatibilism"

Source: Van Inwagen - An Essay on Free Will, 1983, Chapter 3



"Van Inwagen (Peter) - Three Arguments for Incompatibilism"

Source: Van Inwagen - An Essay on Free Will, 1983, Chapter 4



"Van Inwagen (Peter) - What Our Not Having Free Will Would Mean"

Source: Van Inwagen - An Essay on Free Will, 1983, Chapter 5



"Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Traditional Problem"

Source: Van Inwagen - An Essay on Free Will, 1983, Chapter 6



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