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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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Phenomenology, Commitment, and What Might Happen

Phenomenology, Commitment, and What Might Happen

Chapter:
(p.80) 6 Phenomenology, Commitment, and What Might Happen
Source:
Freedom and Belief
Author(s):

Galen Strawson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247493.003.0006

This chapter recommends a thought-experiment: try to think of everything that happens, as quickly as possible, as determined: in particular all one's own thoughts and movements. In those who have a strong sense of self-determination, this can produce a kind of paralysis, or give rise to a sense of the ‘I’ being erased. There are nevertheless many aspects of our sense of freedom which are naturally compatibilist, and which are therefore completely untouched by the thought that determinism is true. There are also many aspects of our sense of freedom that are naturally incompatibilist, and so conflict with the thought that determinism is true. This doubleness of attitude partly explains the perennial force of the free will problem. The true centre of our commitment to belief in freedom lies not in our attitudes to others, as P. F. Strawson believes, but in our experience of our own agency. But perhaps Buddhist meditation could loosen our commitment to the reactive attitudes and our sense of radical free agency.

Keywords:   I, natural compatibilism, natural incompatibilism, meditation, self-determination, experience of agency

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