HELEN STEWARD A METAPHYSICS FOR FREEDOM PDF

A Metaphysics for Freedom outlines the case for the view that agency itself—and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it—is incompatible with determinism. It argues that determinism is threatened just as surely by the existence of powers which can be unproblematically accorded to many sorts of animals, as by the distinctively human powers of action on which the free will debate has tended to focus. A tendency to approach the question of free will solely through the issue of moral responsibility has obscured the fact that there is a quite different route to incompa Determinism, it is contended, is not a doctrine of physics, but of metaphysics; and the idea that it is physics which will tell us whether our world is deterministic or not is argued to presuppose what must not be taken for granted—that is, that physics settles everything else. An outline of a variety of top-down causation which might sustain the idea that an animal itself, rather than merely events and states going on in its parts, may bring something about, is explored.

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A Metaphysics for Freedom outlines the case for the view that agency itself—and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it—is incompatible with determinism.

It argues that determinism is threatened just as surely by the existence of powers which can be unproblematically accorded to many sorts of animals, as by the distinctively human powers of action on which the free will debate has tended to focus.

A tendency to approach the question of free will solely through the issue of moral responsibility has obscured the fact that there is a quite different route to incompa Determinism, it is contended, is not a doctrine of physics, but of metaphysics; and the idea that it is physics which will tell us whether our world is deterministic or not is argued to presuppose what must not be taken for granted—that is, that physics settles everything else.

An outline of a variety of top-down causation which might sustain the idea that an animal itself, rather than merely events and states going on in its parts, may bring something about, is explored. The whole is an argument for a distinctive and resolutely non-dualistic, naturalistically respectable version of libertarianism, rooted in a conception of what biological forms of organization might make possible in the way of freedom.

Keywords: free will , determinism , moral responsibility , agency , action , animals , libertarianism , causation , freedom , incompatibilism. Forgot password? Don't have an account? All Rights Reserved. OSO version 0.

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A Metaphysics for Freedom Helen Steward Abstract A Metaphysics for Freedom outlines the case for the view that agency itself—and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it—is incompatible with determinism. More A Metaphysics for Freedom outlines the case for the view that agency itself—and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it—is incompatible with determinism.

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Helen Steward: A Metaphysics for Freedom

A Metaphysics for Freedom. Helen Steward. A Metaphysics for Freedom argues that agency itself-and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it-is incompatible with determinism. For determinism is threatened just as surely by the existence of powers which can be unproblematically accorded to many sorts of animals, as by the distinctively human powers on which the free will debate has tended to focus. She suggests that a tendency to approach the question of free will solely through the issue of moral responsibility has obscured the fact that there is a quite different route to incompatibilism, based on the idea that animal agents above a certain level of complexity possess a range of distinctive 'two-way' powers, not found in simpler substances. Determinism is not a doctrine of physics, but of metaphysics; and the idea that it is physics which will tell us whether our world is deterministic or not presupposes what must not be taken for granted-that is, that physics settles everything else, and that we are already in a position to say that there could be no irreducibly top-down forms of causal influence. Steward considers questions concerning supervenience, laws, and levels of explanation, and explores an outline of a variety of top-down causation which might sustain the idea that an animal itself, rather than merely events and states going on in its parts, might be able to bring something about.

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A Metaphysics for Freedom

Anyone familiar with Helen Steward's work knows that she is not afraid of assuming the role of the iconoclast, challenging a number of orthodoxies in the metaphysics of mind and action. She does so in a way that one cannot help but admire, even if one strongly disagrees with her. A better title for Steward's book would have been A Metaphysics for Agency. This book is no less provocative than her earlier work. A Steward's central claim is that the exercise of agency in acting is incompatible with determinism.

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