Academic journal article TCA Journal

Living without Free Will: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy

Academic journal article TCA Journal

Living without Free Will: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy

Article excerpt

Pereboom, Derek (2001)

Living without free will: Cambridge studies in philosophy

Cambridge, MASS: Cambridge University Press

Reviewed by Duffy Wilks

In a Peanuts cartoon strip, Charles Schulz' delightfully self-centered Lucy was once shown carrying a document around for everyone she knew to sign. After asking about the contents of the document, Charlie Brown was informed that (paraphrased) the instrument read something like, "I absolve Lucy from all blame and responsibility, in all situations, henceforth forever."- So would seem to read University of Vermont Philosophy Department chair Derek Pereboom's recent book, entitled Living without free will.

In the cartoon, recognizing the imagined benefits of such a document as Lucy's, Charlie Brown immediately exclaimed, "That would be a nice document to have!" And, at first glance, Pereboom's Living without free will would seem to be a good possession for those seeking escape from true moral responsibility. Following a deterministic theme, Pereboom makes a case for "hard incompatibilism," presenting a treatise which argues that the type of free will essential to moral responsibility does not exist, hence, neither does moral responsibility.

This 213-page book is divided into an Introduction and seven chapters. In the Introduction, the author presents an overview of the on-going free will-determinism debate, including a table developed by G. Strawson that identifies nine possible theoretical positions relating to determinism and moral free will. …

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