‘A remarkably clear-headed, balanced analysis of free will. Dilman’s discussions are marked by exemplary clarity in exposition and a focus on getting to what features of human experience have been captured by each thinker.’ Professor Herbert Morris, UCLA
‘There can be no doubting the sustained, high level of scholarship displayed in this detailed study of key thinkers and sources on free will and determinism. The style is pleasant and easy to read, making the work accessible to a wide audience.’ Steve Champlin, University of Hull
What is the place of free will in our lives if all our actions are the result of some other cause? Do our desires and unconscious beliefs make us less free? How do human beings assert their autonomy in a world governed by chance, cause and necessity?
The debate between free will and its opposing doctrine, determinism, is one of the key issues in philosophy. Free Will: An historical and philosophical introduction provides a comprehensive introduction to this highly important topic and examines the contributions of sixteen of the most outstanding thinkers across the ages. Beginning with Homer and early Greek thought, Ilham Dilman examines the writings of Sophocles, Plato and Aristotle, then moves to questions on ethics and theology as explored in the medieval times by St Thomas Aquinas and St Augustine. The analysis continues with the question of free will in the context of empiricism, as seen in the works of Descartes, Spinoza, Kant and Hume, before it embarks on the treatment of the subject by modern thinkers like Schopenhauer, Freud, Sartre, Simone Weil, Moore and Wittgenstein.
This critical study spans a wide area of philosophy and encompasses diverse views on the subject drawn from literature, psychoanalysis, ethics and theology. Ilham Dilman provides a thorough analysis of the continuum between freedom and determinism and offers valuable insights from both sides of the divide.
Ilham Dilman is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Wales, Swansea.