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On Determinism and Freedom

Ted Honderich


The most recalcitrant problem of philosophy, free will, laid out and taken beyond unsatisfactory standard solutions by Britain's foremost working philosopher.

Determinism comes in many forms, some confused, some inconsistent, some incomplete. Some philosophers maintain that determinism is incompatible with true freedom. And others, that determinism is no threat to our freedom. But are these philosophers really assigning an 'unfreedom' to us and merely pretending that we are responsible for our choices and acts of love and violence?

Ted Honderich argues that there are strong reasons to think both positions wrong. Developing from where his earlier work left off, he considers there is a new and more difficult problem of determinism. It too can lead to the thought that we are unfree but morally responsible. As he demonstrates, the hardest and deepest question in philosophy needs a really different answer.


1 What Effects Are
1 Causes, Conditions, Causal Circumstances
2 Causal Circumstances as Necessitating
3 What Necessitation Comes To
4 Objections
5 Other Necessary Connections, Laws, Dispositions
2 Determinism and Its Human Consequences
1 Mind and Brain, Actions
2 Compatibilism and Incompatibilism, and Moral Responsibility
3 Real Consequences of Determinism
3 The Will, Reasons, Determinism's Incoherence
1. Doctrines Summarized
2. Rational as Against Natural Powers
3. Reasons
4. Compatibilism, Connected Freedoms, Punishment
4 Is the Mind Ahead of the Brain? Behind It?
1. Some Experimental Findings About Experiences
2. Statements of an Hypothesis
3. Inconsistency, Delay-and-Antedating
4. Mind and Brain, Free Will, A Conjecture, Contradiction
5. The Later Research
5 Mind the Guff
1. Consciousness as Biological Subjectivity on Two Levels Etc.
2. The Consciousness of Deciding and Acting
3. Gaps Again, Compatibilism and Incompatibilism
4. Free Will With Neural Indeterminism
6 Determinism True, Compatibilism and Incompatibilism False, Another Problem
1. Quantum Theory as Interpreted
2. Origination and the Philosophy of Mind
3. Consequence Argument, Hierarchy Argument
4. Attitudinism
7 After Compatibilism and Incompatibilism -- and Attitudinism?
1. Experience, Quantum Theory, Determinism
2. Compatibilism and Incompatibilism and Attitudinism One Last Time
3. Attitudinism and Affirmation
4. Trouble, and Two Ideas

About the Author

Ted Honderich is Grote Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London and Visiting Professor at the University of Bath.