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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: Does rationality + consciousness = free will?

Review of Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will
by David Hodgson. New York: Oxford University Press

Review by Brian Earp

Do we have free will or don’t we? Or do we have it in degrees? Is free will compatible with determinism or is it not? What about indeterminism? David Hodgson is not the first to explore this thicket. Following the advice of Hobbes, the first step in any effort to answer such questions should be to pose another set of questions: What do you mean by “free”? By “we”? By “have”and “will”? What is your notion of “compatible” and “incompatible”? How do you define“determinism”? And so on through the list of very pregnant turns-of-phrase.

In his latest book, Hodgson does somewhat less to “examine the Definitions of former Authors”than to “make them himself.” Though he does give some broad gestures at foundational texts in the opening chapters of his work, and while he sprinkles some references to his contemporaries throughout, Hodgson spends the bulk of his time developing his own distinctive account. Let us try to make some sense, then, of what that account is saying.

The author's personal copy of the book review is here.

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