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Determinism or Free-Will?   By: (1868-)

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First Page:

DETERMINISM OR FREE WILL?

Printed and Published by THE PIONEER PRESS (G. W. FOOTE & CO., LTD.), 61 Farringdon Street, London, E.C. 4.

Determinism

OR

Free Will?

BY

CHAPMAN COHEN.

New Edition. Revised and Enlarged.

LONDON: THE PIONEER PRESS, 61 FARRINGDON STREET, E.C. 4.

1919.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE QUESTION STATED 9

II. "FREEDOM" AND "WILL" 23

III. CONSCIOUSNESS, DELIBERATION, AND CHOICE 36

IV. SOME ALLEGED CONSEQUENCES OF DETERMINISM 50

V. PROFESSOR JAMES ON THE "DILEMMA OF DETERMINISM" 63

VI. THE NATURE AND IMPLICATIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY 76

VII. DETERMINISM AND CHARACTER 92

VIII. A PROBLEM IN DETERMINISM 101

IX. ENVIRONMENT 117

PREFACE TO NEW EDITION.

The demand for a new edition of Determinism or Free Will is gratifying as affording evidence of the existence of a public, apart from the class catered for by more expensive publications, interested in philosophic questions[1]. It was, indeed, in the conviction that such a public existed that the book was written. Capacity, in spite of a popular impression to the contrary, has no very close relation to cash, nor is interest in philosophic questions indicated solely by the ability to spend a half guinea or guinea on a work that might well have been published at three or four shillings. There exists a fairly large public of sufficient capacity and education intelligently to discuss the deeper aspects of life, but which has neither time nor patience to give to the study of bulky works that so often leave a subject more obscure at the end than it was at the beginning.

[1] When the Mss. of this work was submitted to a well known firm of publishers, the reply came in the form of an offer to publish the work provided it could be expanded so as to admit of its publication at 7/6. It would have been quite easy to have done this; the difficulty is to compress, and the less a subject is understood the easier it is to write at length on it. But the offer, though financially tempting, would have defeated the purpose for which the work was written, and so was declined.

Nor does there appear any adequate reason why it should be otherwise. A sane philosophy must base itself on the common things of life, and must deal with the common experience of all men. The man who cannot find material for philosophic study by reflecting on those which are near at hand is not likely to achieve success by travelling all over the globe. He will only succeed in presenting to his readers a more elaborately acquired and a more expensively gained confusion. Nor is there any reason why philosophy should be discussed only in the jargon of the schools, except to keep it, like the religious mysteries, the property of the initiated few. We all talk philosophy, as we all talk prose, and doubtless many are as surprised as was M. Jourdain, when the fact is pointed out to them.

So whatever merit this little work has is chiefly due to the avoidance, so far as possible, of a stereotyped phraseology, and to the elimination of irrelevant matter that has gathered round the subject. The present writer has long had the conviction that the great need in the discussion of ethical and psychological questions is their restatement in the simplest possible terms. The most difficult thing that faces the newcomer to these questions is to find out what they are really all about... Continue reading book >>




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