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Freedom within Reason Paperback – October 21, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0195085655 ISBN-10: 0195085655

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Freedom within Reason + The Philosophy of Free Will: Essential Readings from the Contemporary Debates + A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 21, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195085655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195085655
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,182,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Highly intelligent, original, and provocative. Her criticisms of the Autonomy View and the Real Self View are both vigorous and incisive. Her alternative approach--the Reason View--is developed with considerable subtlety and refinement. It is a distinctive approach to free will and moral responsibility, which deserves to be taken seriously."--Ethics

"Refreshing....Bold positions are advanced, elaborated with adequate, not exorbitant detail, and forcefully defended. The writing is crisp and not ponderous....Wolf's perspective on the issues is original. Although the theories that are surveyed are familiar, the way in which they are sorted is illuminating."--Journal of Philosophy

"Thoughtful and persuasive....A valuable dimension of Wolf's book is her clear summary of arguments that in their original form, are virtually inpenetrable to those who are not trained in academic philosophy."--American Political Science Review

"[Wolf's] view is marked by a refreshing simplicity that does not undermine its philosophical soundness or its persuasiveness....One can find little to discredit in Wolf's arguments, and her approach to the problem of the relationship between responsibility and freedom provides a relief from the tedious and convoluted debates that often take place when this issue is the topic."--Review of Metaphysics

"This book is brilliantly written and full of stimulating argument. Because it states the fundamental issues intuitively and clearly, it is accessible to a wide audience. Because many claims and arguments are original and well presented, it will also appeal to professionals....It is an important book that deserves a very wide audience."--Choice

About the Author

Susan Wolf is at Johns Hopkins University.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Evans on February 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Wolf's book, now over ten years old, is a standout in recent literature on free will. She approaches the question from the angle of autonomy rather than the usual determinism angel. This is a refreshing and insightful approach to the long standing problem, not least because of how she clearly relates the former problem to the latter.
Her own theory, the 'Reason View,' has much to recomend it. I am inclined towards suggesting that it makes a valuable addition to what she calls the 'Real Self Views' (that of Watson, Neely, often Frankfurt and others) rather than the stronger claim that she has disproved those other theories and put in their place a new theory, which she seems to suggest. And her demolition of the incompatibilist autonomous view is complete. Excellent and thought-provoking philosophy
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Straight examples and intriguing argument, which nicely engages authoritative contemporary philosophers in the conversation.

I was a bit disappointed toward the end, where the discourse gets vague and loses the concreteness which made it so engaging at the beginning.

Although the main argument is less conclusive than it promises to be, the book is worth reading for its originality, its well organized structure, and some precious paragraphs that help consider nested issues within the topic of free will.
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2 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Only a philosopher ineluctably wed to rationalism could conceive of a title like FREEDOM WITHIN REASON without intending irony. I just love it when philosophers, comfortable in their belief of self-superiority, make statements like, "...and so we see that ordinary people are perhaps justified in thinking that they can make up their own minds about important moral issues..." (paraphrasing). Rehashed ethical humanism, old fish.
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