Are We Free? Psychology and Free Will

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John Baer, James C. Kaufman, Roy F. Baumeister
Oxford University Press, Feb 25, 2008 - Psychology - 368 pages
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Do people have free will, or this universal belief an illusion? If free will is more than an illusion, what kind of free will do people have? How can free will influence behavior? Can free will be studied, verified, and understood scientifically? How and why might a sense of free will have evolved? These are a few of the questions this book attempts to answer. People generally act as though they believe in their own free will: they don't feel like automatons, and they don't treat one another as they might treat robots. While acknowledging many constraints and influences on behavior, people nonetheless act as if they (and their neighbors) are largely in control of many if not most of the decisions they make. Belief in free will also underpins the sense that people are responsible for their actions. Psychological explanations of behavior rarely mention free will as a factor, however. Can psychological science find room for free will? How do leading psychologists conceptualize free will, and what role do they believe free will plays in shaping behavior? In recent years a number of psychologists have tried to solve one or more of the puzzles surrounding free will. This book looks both at recent experimental and theoretical work directly related to free will and at ways leading psychologists from all branches of psychology deal with the philosophical problems long associated with the question of free will, such as the relationship between determinism and free will and the importance of consciousness in free will. It also includes commentaries by leading philosophers on what psychologists can contribute to long-running philosophical struggles with this most distinctly human belief. These essays should be of interest not only to social scientists, but to intelligent and thoughtful readers everywhere.
 

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Interacting with a new kind of responsability we hope to deter others from comparable evils in th future for example wars by publicly enforcing a policy of rooting out male and real evil.

Contents

Psychology and Free Will
3
2 How Can Psychology Contribute to the Free Will Debate?
10
3 Determined and Free
32
The Construction of Free Will
44
5 Free Will Consciousness and Cultural Animals
65
6 Reconstrual of Free Will From the Agentic Perspective of Social Cognitive Theory
86
7 Free Will Is Unnatural
128
8 The Automaticity Juggernautor Are We Automatons After All?
155
11 Self Is Magic
226
12 Some Observations on the Psychology of Thinking About Free Will
248
13 Whose Will? How Free?
260
14 Free Will as a Proportion of Variance
275
The Yin and Yang of the Creative Life
296
16 Free Will Requires Determinism
304
17 The Fear of Determinism
311
A Commentary
325

9 The Hazards of Claiming to Have Solved the Hard Problem of Free Will
181
10 Free Will and the Control of Action
205

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About the author (2008)

Roy F. Baumeister is the Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology and head of the social psychology graduate program at Florida State University. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton in 1978 and did a postdoctoral fellowship in sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. Baumeister has worked at Case Western Reserve University, as well as the University of Texas, University of Virginia, Max-Planck-Institute, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Baumeister's has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health and from the Templeton Foundation. His research spans the areas of self and identity, self-regulation, interpersonal rejection and the need to belong, sexuality and gender, aggression, self-esteem, meaning, and self-presentation. He is the author of nearly 400 publications. His books include Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty , The Cultural Animal , Meanings of Life and Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

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