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Living without Free Will (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy) 1st Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521029964
ISBN-10: 0521029961
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an impressive book, which can be recommended to all philosophers interested in the problems surrounding freedom and moral responsibility. It covers a lot of ground..." Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"This book is well written and as easy to read as the intricacy of its argument permits. It is clear, careful, insightful, and well-informed, a good guide to the philosophical literature on the many issues it discusses. Anyone concerned with those issues will profit greatly from reading it. Journal of Ethics

Book Description

In Living Without Free Will, Derk Pereboom argues that our best scientific theories indeed have the consequence that factors beyond our control produce all of the actions we perform, and that because of this, we are not morally responsible for any of them. He seeks to defend the view that morality, meaning, and value remain intact even if we are not morally responsible, and furthermore, that adopting this perspective would provide significant benefit for our lives.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy
  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521029961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521029964
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,254,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Rudrick on January 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
A good outline of the problem, especially the contradictions inherent in the compatibilist position. What this book does best though is deal with the implications for our grossly outdated approaches to criminal behaviour/responisibility and the implicatons of determinism for our existence in general.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent analysis of hard incompatibilism and the ramifications. Really concise and packed full of important stuff. The idea that we could lose moral responsibility, and in doing so, not actually lose that much that we cherish was refreshing. This should be a landmark book, in my opinion.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So let me start by saying that this is an absolutely fantastic, brilliant book. Pereboom is one of the best writers on the topic of the problem of free will and moral responsibility, and he makes a compelling case for an initially very counterintuitive position.

My only problem (and the only reason that this isn't a 5 star review) is that I made the mistake of ordering the Kindle version of this book. The digital text looks like it was scanned in with a very low resolution scanner; it is all but unreadable. For over 30 dollars, it is completely unacceptable. Whatever you do, do NOT get the Kindle version of this book. Search for an ebook version elsewhere (if one is available, I don't know), or get yourself the paperback.
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Format: Paperback
Some people are so stupid that the only possible job for them in life is to be a college professor. Derk Pereboom falls into this category. He fell in love with the idea that there is no such thing as free will, which is, admittedly, a seductive idea -- for a college sophomore. His love of this idea stems from the seemingly irrefutable logical statement that everything has a cause (or more properly, many causes). Therefore, every action by a human agent has causes and no action is free. He doesn't understand the subtle, but supremely important, differences between "caused," "determined," and "inevitable." Just because my actions have causes doesn't mean that can't be free. There are emergent properties of complex systems (consider life, which is made up of things that are not alive) that cannot be reduced to the properties of their component parts.

The idea that humans have no free will, and are therefore not morally responsible for their actions is not just wrong in an intellectual sense -- it is extremely dangerous.
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