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The Significance of Free Will Paperback – October 1, 1998
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"Provides the most fully articulated, the most comprehensive, and the best case for libertarianism that has ever been devised."--Richard Double, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
"A magisterial work [that] culminates twenty-five years of thinking about the problems of free will. For those who believe both that robust free will cannot survive in a deterministic climate and that a viable free will need be scientifically respectable, Kane's work may prove salvific."--Mark Bernstein, University of Texas at San Antonio
"For more than a decade Robert Kane has vigorously defended libertarian free will in prose and print. Significance represents his definitive statement and it is a truly splendid book. Remarkably well organized and original, Significance requires rethinking standard convictions in the freedom/determinism debate about explanation, causation, responsibility, and worth. It's a must read for philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists."--George Graham, University of Alabama at Birmingham
"This is, quite simply, the most thoughtful and detailed defense of libertarianism currently available." --Alfred R. Mele, Davidson College
",,,complex and carefully argued..."--Times Literary Supplement
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Top Customer Reviews
Six things stand out:
1) Kane's breakdown of the problem of free will into two pairs of questions: Compatibility (whether free will is compatible with determinism) and Significance (whether libertarian free will gives us something that compatibilist free will doesn't); and Intelligibility (does libertarian free will make sense, or is it fundamentally incoherent) and Existence (self-explanatory).
2) Kane's concepts of "Ultimate Responsibility" and "Self Forming Actions." While there is much more to UR than I can summarize here, the key idea is that much of our behavior might be determined in its moment, but that acts of genuine free will in our past would be responsible for shaping our character, thus making us responsible even for determined acts.
3) His chapter 6, a great answer for the question of Significance. This is the chapter that Kane has paid the least attention to when summarizing his own work in A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will and as editor of the Oxford Handbooks of Free Will, and it is worth the price of admission. I don't quite agree with all of it, but when it's right, it's beautifully right.
4) His solution to the Intelligibility question, which he finds in "efforts of will" and "conflicts of the will." The chief argument against the intelligibility of an actual ability to "choose to do otherwise" is that it makes no sense to even want the ability to choose to do other than what your deterministic past says you most want to do.Read more ›
Required reading for anyone seriously interested in these matters, which are fundamental to morality, personal identity, love, and everything else that matters.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A superb case for free will, which persuasively draws on recent findings in the sciences. (For a related book, see Ilya Prigogine, "The End of Certainty. Read morePublished on June 14, 2001 by David Keppel
Kane surveys the relevant issues in free will with precision and fairness. However, his positive account relies heavily on dubious appropriations from chaos theory and quantum... Read morePublished on June 3, 2000 by Keith Douglas