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Of Liberty and Necessity
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Of Liberty and Necessity: The Free Will Debate in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy

James A. Harris


This book presents the first detailed account of the discussion of the free will problem in British philosophy in the ‘long’ eighteenth century, beginning with Locke and ending with Dugald Stewart. In this period, the question of the nature of human freedom is posed principally in terms of the influence of motives upon the will. On the libertarian side of the debate are those who believe we are free in our choices. A motive, these philosophers hold, is a reason to act in a particular way, but it is up to the agent which motive he acts upon. On the necessitarian side of the debate are those who ... More

Keywords: free will, choice, motives, liberty, libertarianism, necessity, necessitarianism, experimental philosophy, consciousness, eighteenth-century

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780199268603
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006 DOI:10.1093/0199268606.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

James A. Harris, author
Department of Philosophy, University of St Andrews
Author Webpage