Laws, Mind, and Free Will - Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology (Hardback)
  • Laws, Mind, and Free Will - Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology (Hardback)
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Laws, Mind, and Free Will - Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology (Hardback)

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Hardback 296 Pages / Published: 11/03/2011
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An account of scientific laws that vindicates the status of psychological laws and shows natural laws to be compatible with free will. In Laws, Mind, and Free Will, Steven Horst addresses the apparent dissonance between the picture of the natural world that arises from the sciences and our understanding of ourselves as agents who think and act. If the mind and the world are entirely governed by natural laws, there seems to be no room left for free will to operate. Moreover, although the laws of physical science are clear and verifiable, the sciences of the mind seem to yield only rough generalizations rather than universal laws of nature. Horst argues that these two familiar problems in philosophy-the apparent tension between free will and natural law and the absence of "strict" laws in the sciences of the mind-are artifacts of a particular philosophical thesis about the nature of laws: that laws make claims about how objects actually behave. Horst argues against this Empiricist orthodoxy and proposes an alternative account of laws-an account rooted in a cognitivist approach to philosophy of science. Horst argues that once we abandon the Empiricist misunderstandings of the nature of laws there is no contrast between "strict" laws and generalizations about the mind ("ceteris paribus" laws, laws hedged by the caveat "other things being equal"), and that a commitment to laws is compatible with a commitment to the existence of free will. Horst's alternative account, which he calls "cognitive Pluralism," vindicates the truth of psychological laws and resolves the tension between human freedom and the sciences.

Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
ISBN: 9780262015257
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Steven Horst has written a first-rate book that is philosophically informative and engaging. -Mind
Horst's book provides some philosophers or scientists of mind with a probably long-overdue update on philosophy of science. Its discussion of free will may interest the general audience the most, but hopefully it may also bring them to broader philosophical issues of mind and science. Horst shows us a sincere, fine effort to dissolve foundational concerns about mind and its place in the world while reminding us of our epistemic limitations. We can see the difficulty of resolving the conflict between the two images that we have of ourselves. For this schizophrenic tension, maybe, the best available therapy is not trying to remove it but being reminded of it. -Metapsychology

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