Free Will and Illusion
OUP Oxford, Mar 30, 2000 - 344 pages
Saul Smilansky presents an original treatment of the problem of free will, which lies at the heart of morality and human self-understanding. He maintains that we have most of the resources we need for a proper understanding of the problem; and the key to it is the role played by illusion. The major traditional philosophical approaches are inadequate, Smilansky argues: their partial insights need to be integrated into a hybrid view, which he calls Fundamental Dualism. Common views about justice, responsibility, human worth, and related notions are radically misguided, and the absurd looms large. We do, however, find some justification for enlightened moral views, and grounding for some of our most cherished views of human nature. The bold and perhaps disturbing claim of Free Will and Illusion is that we could not live adequately with a complete awareness of the truth about human freedom: illusion lies at the centre of the human condition. The necessity of illusion is seen to follow from the basic elements of the free will issue, helping keep our moral and psychological worlds intact. Smilansky offers the challenge of recognizing the centrality of illusion and trying to free ourselves to some extent from it; this is not only a philosophical challenge, but a moral and psychological one as well.
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absence of libertarian actions Assumption of Monism basic beliefs bilist blame blameworthy central Chapter choice claim Community of Responsibility compati compatibilist distinctions compatibilist free compatibilist level compatibilist perspective compatibilist terms Compatibility Question concern conclusions consequentialist considered control compatibilism control compatibilist Core Conception crucial danger depend Derek Parfit Dissonance Problem distributive justice egalitarian ethical existence free will issue free will problem free will-related freedom Fundamental Dualism Galen Strawson hard deter hard determinism hard determinist perspective hence honesty human idea implications importance of illusion injustice innocent Insufficiency Problem intuitions lack libertarian free limited lives luck Martha Klein matters moral responsibility moral worth motivation nature notion one's ourselves people's philosophical position possible practice punishment reactive attitudes reason relevant retributive retributive justice role of illusion self-deception self-respect sense situation social sort Strawson tarian tion truth ultimate level ultimate perspective ultimate-level unillusioned utilitarianism