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Free Will & Determinism

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  1. 0.3 hrs • 7/9/2016 • Unabridged

    In this fictitious dialogue, it is shown that there are three kinds of freedom, each of which, though non-trivially different from the other two, is identical with the subject’s being appropriately constitutive of a causally cohesive structure of some kind or other. Analogues of this point are proven to hold not just of personal freedom, but also of personal identity, and not just of personal identity, but also of objectual identity.

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  2. 0.5 hrs • 7/9/2016 • Unabridged

    Determinism is the doctrine that the world’s condition at any given time is a consequence of its condition at some prior time. The world is predictable only to the extent that it is deterministic, but even a strictly deterministic world cannot possibly be entirely predictable. The reasons for this are stated in this fast-paced, tightly argued monograph, as are the reasons why, contrary to what is generally assumed, it can in fact be established with reasonable certainty that the world is at least approximately deterministic. The difference between indeterminism and randomness is also discussed, and some important but oft-overlooked consequences of this distinction are identified.

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    0.5 hrs • 7/9/16 • Unabridged
  3. 0.0 hrs • 6/22/2016 • Unabridged

    It is said how actions differ from mere causes and, therewith, how selves differ from mere objects.

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    0.0 hrs • 6/22/16 • Unabridged
  4. 9.9 hrs • 1/1/2015 • Unabridged

    In this landmark 1984 work on free will, Daniel Dennett makes a case for compatibilism. His aim, as he writes in the preface to this new edition, was a cleanup job, “saving everything that mattered about the everyday concept of free will, while jettisoning the impediments.” In Elbow Room, Dennett argues that the varieties of free will worth wanting—those that underwrite moral and artistic responsibility—are not threatened by advances in science but distinguished, explained, and justified in detail. Dennett tackles the question of free will in a highly original and witty manner, drawing on the theories and concepts of fields that range from physics and evolutionary biology to engineering, automata theory, and artificial intelligence. He shows how the classical formulations of the problem in philosophy depend on misuses of imagination, and he disentangles the philosophical problems of real interest from the “family of anxieties” in which they are often enmeshed—imaginary agents and bogeymen, including the Peremptory Puppeteer, the Nefarious Neurosurgeon, and the Cosmic Child Whose Dolls We Are. Putting sociobiology in its rightful place, Dennett concludes that we can have free will and science too. He explores reason, control and self-control, the meaning of “can” and “could have done otherwise,” responsibility and punishment, and why we would want free will in the first place. A fresh reading of Dennett’s book shows how much it can still contribute to current discussions of free will. This edition includes as its afterword Dennett’s 2012 Erasmus Prize essay.

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    Elbow Room by Daniel C. Dennett

    Elbow Room

    9.9 hrs • 1/1/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 2.9 hrs • 7/1/2015 • Unabridged

    In our daily life, it really seems as though we have free will, that what we do from moment to moment is determined by conscious decisions that we freely make. You get up from the couch, you go for a walk, you eat chocolate ice cream. It seems that we’re in control of actions like these; if we are, then we have free will. But in recent years, some have argued that free will is an illusion. The neuroscientist (and bestselling author) Sam Harris and the late Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner, for example, claim that certain scientific findings disprove free will. In this engaging and accessible volume in the Essential Knowledge series, the philosopher Mark Balaguer examines the various arguments and experiments that have been cited to support the claim that human beings don’t have free will. He finds them to be overstated and misguided. Balaguer discusses determinism, the view that every physical event is predetermined, or completely caused by prior events. He describes several philosophical and scientific arguments against free will, including one based on Benjamin Libet’s famous neuroscientific experiments, which allegedly show that our conscious decisions are caused by neural events that occur before we choose. He considers various religious and philosophical views, including the philosophical pro-free-will view known as compatibilism. Balaguer concludes that the anti-free-will arguments put forward by philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists simply don’t work. They don’t provide any good reason to doubt the existence of free will. But, he cautions, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we have free will. The question of whether we have free will remains an open one; we simply don’t know enough about the brain to answer it definitively.

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    Free Will

    2.9 hrs • 7/1/15 • Unabridged
  6. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    1.2 hrs • 3/6/2012 • Unabridged

    A BELIEF IN FREE WILL touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion. In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or diminish the importance of social and political freedom, but it can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life.

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    Free Will

    1.2 hrs • 3/6/12 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
  7. 5.0 hrs • 3/25/2011 • Unabridged

    First published in 1859, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty is an exhaustive exploration of social and civic liberty, its limits, and its consequences. Mill’s work is a classic of political liberalism that contains a rational justification of the freedom of the individual in opposition to the claims of the state. Drawing upon the empiricism of John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume and the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham, On Liberty defends the representative democracy as the culmination of society’s progression from lower to higher stages, even as it recognizes one of the unique dangers of this type of government—namely, the “tyranny of the majority.” Central to Mill’s ideology is the harm principle—the idea that individual liberties should only be curtailed when they harm or interfere with the ability of others to exercise their own liberties. Unlike other liberal theorists, Mill did not rely upon theories of abstract rights to support his ideology, but rather grounded his philosophy in ideas of utility. As relevant to modern audiences as it was to Mill’s Victorian readership, On Liberty is an enduring classic of political thought.

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    On Liberty

    5.0 hrs • 3/25/11 • Unabridged
  8. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    10.0 hrs • 1/4/2008 • Unabridged

    This audiobook is about luck—or more precisely, how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. It is already a landmark work and its title has entered our vocabulary. In its second edition, Fooled by Randomness is now a cornerstone for anyone interested in random outcomes. Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill—the world of trading—this audiobook is a captivating insight into one of the least understood factors of all our lives. In an entertaining narrative style, the author succeeds in tackling three major intellectual issues: the problem of induction, the survivorship biases, and our genetic unfitness to the modern word. Taleb uses stories and anecdotes to illustrate our overestimation of causality and the heuristics that make us view the world as far more explainable than it actually is. The audiobook is populated by an array of characters, some of whom have grasped, in their own way, the significance of chance: Yogi Berra, the baseball legend; Karl Popper, the philosopher of knowledge; Solon, the Ancient World’s wisest man; George Soros, a modern financier; and the Greek voyager Ulysses. We also meet the fictional Nero, who seems to understand the role of randomness in his professional life but who also falls victim to his own superstitious foolishness. But the most recognizable character remains unnamed—the lucky fool in the right place at the right time, the embodiment of the “survival of the least fit.” Such individuals attract devoted followers who believe in their guru’s insights and methods. But no one can replicate what is obtained through chance. Are we capable of distinguishing the fortunate charlatan from the genuine visionary? Must we always try to uncover non-existent messages in random events?

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    Fooled by Randomness

    10.0 hrs • 1/4/08 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
  9. 5.9 hrs • 3/1/2006 • Unabridged

    Once upon a time, there was a swimming-pool repairman who only had a hundred-dollar bill to pay for a hot dog, requested the change in lottery tickets, and subsequently won $180 million. Strange, but ultimately true.  In this insightful, thoroughly entertaining book, countless similar case studies of “as luck would have it …” are presented, offering a fascinating survey of the phenomenon. Weaving the subjects’ own beliefs about their experiences with compelling research on chance, probability, and luck psychology, As Luck Would Have It also includes research on how to prepare for luck, how to deal with it when it arrives, and how to make the choices that will most benefit you. Are you ready?

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    As Luck Would Have It

    5.9 hrs • 3/1/06 • Unabridged
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  10. 12.8 hrs • 8/1/2001 • Unabridged

    Compiled after his death in 1662, Pascal’s “pensées” (thoughts) are his ideas for a book in defense of faith in a rational world. These fragments give evidence of a profoundly original thinker who had resolved the conflict between his scientific mind and his heart-felt faith. The book begins with an analysis of the difference between mathematical and intuitive thinking and goes on to consider the value of skepticism, contradictions, feeling, memory, and imagination. It is a powerful look at humanity’s weakness and the futility of worldly life. Much of the value of Pensées lies in the clarity with which Pascal was able to present his intuitive thoughts. Pascal spent much of his life composing this magnum opus, which offers some of the most powerful aphorisms about human experience and behavior ever written.

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    Pensées by Blaise Pascal


    Translated by H. F. Stewart
    12.8 hrs • 8/1/01 • Unabridged
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