REASONABLE FREE WILL

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201a.jpg PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAYS BY DAVID HODGSON

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I am a Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia. I am also deeply interested in philosophy. I've published two philosophical books through Oxford University Press (Consequences of Utilitarianism 1967 and The Mind Matters 1991), and many articles on philosophical topics including consciousness, probability and plausible reasoning. In recent years, my main philosophical interest has been free will. In addition to my 1991 book, I have published articles on this topic, made contributions to a book on free will edited by the neuroscientist Benjamin Libet and others (The Volitional Brain) and to two books on free will edited by the philosopher Robert Kane (Free Will in Blackwell Readings in Philosophy, and Oxford Handbook of Free Will), and written the entry on free will for the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. I contributed a target article ‘A plain person’s free will’ for a 2005 issue of Journal of Consciousness Studies, which also contained several commentaries on this article (including commentaries by the philosophers Robert Kane and J. J. C. Smart and the physicist Henry Stapp) and my response to these commentaries.

 

I support the view that we really do have a degree of free will and ultimate responsibility for our actions. This is a minority view among scientists and scientifically-oriented philosophers, many of whom claim that our characters and actions are wholly and inevitably determined by our genes and environment (nature, nurture and circumstances); but I believe there are strong reasons supporting my view that have generally been overlooked, and that there are good answers to the objections raised to this view. I think it is important that these reasons and answers become more widely appreciated.

 

I set out below the references to my main publications that relate to free will. Many of the articles can be read on this website. The fullest statement of what I believe to be my most significant original argument (my ‘gestalt argument’) is in the article ‘Three tricks of consciousness’ (2002). I have distilled my main arguments in support of free will into a brief article ‘Why I (still) believe in free will and responsibility’, an edited version of which was published in The Times Literary Supplement on 6 July, 2007 under the title ‘Partly free’.

 

I recently completed a book on free will which builds on the ideas I have been developing since 1991. It is called Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will, and it is to be published in November 2011 by Oxford University Press. See here and here.

 

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PUBLICATIONS

2011 Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will (New York: Oxford University Press) (to be published in November)

2010 ‘In defence of voluntariness’; in Toepel, F. (ed.) (2010), Free Will in Criminal Law and Procedure (Franz Steiner Verlag).

2009 ‘Criminal responsibility, free will, and neuroscience’; in Murphy, Ellis and O’Connor (eds.) (2009), Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will (Berlin: Springer).

2009 ‘Limits of physicalism’; in Mchenry, L. (ed.) (2009), Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom (Ontos Verlag).

2008 ‘The Conway-Kochen “free will theorem” and unscientific determinism’, partly incorporated in Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will (2011).

2008 ‘The knowledge argument: a response to Elizabeth Schier, Journal of Consciousness Studies 15(4), 112-115.

2008 ‘A role for consciousness’, Philosophy Now 65, 22-24.

2007 ‘Making our own luck’, Ratio 20, 278-292.

2007 ‘Why I (still) believe in free will and responsibility’, edited version published under the title ‘Partly free’ in The Times Literary Supplement on 6 July, 2007.

2007 Letter responding to comments on Dawkins article, Quadrant 439, 5-6

2007 ‘Dawkins and the morality of the Bible’, Quadrant 436, 38-43.

2005 ‘Responsibility and good reasons’, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 2.2, 471-483.

2005 'Goodbye to qualia and all that' , Journal of Consciousness Studies 12(2), 84-88.

2005  ‘Response to commentators’, Journal of Consciousness Studies 12(1), 76-95.

2005 ‘A plain person’s free will’, Journal of Consciousness Studies 12(1), 1-19.

2003 ‘Free will’, Macmillan Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science.

2002 ‘Three tricks of consciousness’, Journal of Consciousness Studies 9(12), 65-88.

2002   Review of Searle, John R. (2001), Rationality in Action (Cambridge MA: MIT), Journal of Consciousness Studies 9(2), 92-4.

2002 ‘Quantum physics, consciousness, and free will’; in Kane, R. (ed.) (2002), Oxford Handbook of Free Will (New York: Oxford University Press).

2001 ‘Constraint, empowerment and guidance: a conjectural classification of laws of nature’, Philosophy 76, 341-70.

2000 ‘Guilty mind or guilty brain: criminal responsibility in the age of neuroscience’, The Australian Law Journal 74, 661-80.

1999 ‘Hume’s mistake’; in Libet, B., Freeman, A., and Sutherland, K. (eds) (1999), The Volitional Brain (Thorverton: Imprint Academic), and republished in part in Kane, R. (ed.) (2002), Free Will (Malden MA: Blackwell).

1998 ‘Folk psychology, science, and the criminal law’; in Hameroff, Scott and Kaszniak (1998) Toward a Science of Consciousness II (Cambridge MA: MIT).

1996 Nonlocality, local indeterminism, and consciousness’, Ratio 9, 1-22

1996 ‘The easy problems ain’t so easy’, Journal of Consciousness Studies 3(1), 69-75.

1995 ‘What zombies can’t do’, Journal of Consciousness Studies 2(4), 360-1.

1995 ‘Probability: the logic of the law - a response’, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 14, 51-68.

1994 ‘Why Searle hasn’t rediscovered the mind’, Journal of Consciousness Studies 1(2), 264-74.

1994 ‘Neuroscience and folk-psychology - an overview’, Journal of Consciousness Studies 1(2), 205-16.

1991 The Mind Matters (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

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