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Freedom and Belief$
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Galen Strawson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247493

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247493.001.0001

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Contravention and Convention

Contravention and Convention

(p.175) 11 Contravention and Convention
Freedom and Belief

Galen Strawson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers various cases in which the principle of independence (introduced in Chapter 10) may be contravened. Perhaps one enters into a contract, or makes a promise, only if one believes one does, or is aware that one is doing so. Perhaps one is fashionable only if one believes one is. One can set up a ‘mystery draw’ or lottery in such a way that believing one is a winner is a necessary condition of actually being a winner. One is omniscient only if one believes one is. Some philosophers think that one acts immorally (or morally) only if one believes one does. Perhaps genuinely believing one is in pain is not only necessary but sufficient for being in pain. However, even if some of these cases in which one cannot have a property without believing one has it are unproblematic, the claim that believing you are free is a necessary constitutive condition of being free remains highly problematic.

Keywords:   mystery draw, principle of independence, constitutive conditions, immorality, pain

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