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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

John Searle: Freedom & Neurobiology

John Searle's very interesting-looking Freedom & Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power is out. Here is a brief description from the press (CUP):

The essays that comprise this volume return to some of the crucial issues that have defined Searle's work: language, consciousness, free will, and social ontology and political power. Searle proposes new ways of thinking about these issues and addresses how recent scientific discoveries have shaped philosophical understandings of the mind and consciousness. In the first essay, "Free Will as Problem in Neurobiology," Searle examines key philosophical issues in the context of recent discoveries in neurobiology. Searle then applies his theory of social reality to the problem of political power, explaining the role of language in the formation of our political reality.
There is also an excerpt available here.

1 comment:

Carl Abbott said...

On one hand, John Searle laments, "the persistence of the traditional free will problem in philosophy seems to me something of a scandal. After all these centuries of writing about free will, it does not seem to me that we have made very much progress."

Yet he himself seems bogged down in the view that this has to be an 'either - or' question. He says, "What would the world, specifically our brains, be like if determinism were true and what would the world, specifically our brains, be like if determinism were false?"

'The intellectual establishment', suffers the same problems found in other bureaucracies. Inertia (here it's free will vs. determinism) keeps 'bureaucracies of thought' plodding along old ruts for centuries. Perhaps we blinded by our own 'brilliance'.

Finally, there is a 'solution' to this free will problem at http://www.centertao.org/freewill.php