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Freedom and Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power (Columbia Themes in Philosophy)

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  103 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Our self-conception derives mostly from our own experience. We believe ourselves to be conscious, rational, social, ethical, language-using, political agents who possess free will. Yet we know we exist in a universe that consists of mindless, meaningless, unfree, nonrational, brute physical particles. How can we resolve the conflict between these two visions?

In "Freedom an
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 17th 2006 by Columbia University Press (first published January 1st 2005)
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I read another book by John Searle in which he was mainly trying to prove that both dualism and materialism are wrong when it comes to explaining consciousness. He repeats the same line here a few times. Now I can’t remember at all how he tried to prove that point in his earlier book. So much for all these books that I read. How can both dualism and materialism be wrong? But anyway... this is a nice little book on the age-old question of freedom of will. Searle doesn’t attempt to solve the probl ...more
Kayson Fakhar
بدرد فلسفه پرستایی میخوره که میخوان حالا با نوروساینسم دو جمله شوآف کنن
Mar 26, 2008 Alan is currently reading it
The last century has seen a radical shift in philosophy, basically stemming from the realization that philosophy has been radically outpaced by science and everything else. So a century of work has gone into trying to correct the unchecked assumptions that have been growing since Plato. This is the most insecure century of thought. Don't bother with it, just jump ahead to Searle, Neurobiology and Linguistics.
Deniz Cem Önduygu
Classic Searle, reasoning through nothing but plain common sense, and dismissing fruitful (and possibly accurate) ideas/theories on the basis that they are "intellectually very unsatisfying" (p. 62), or "literally incredible" (p. 77).

The most obvious and even fun case is on pages 45–46 where he literally uses his nemesis Dennett's heterophenomenology approach ("Granted that we have the experience of freedom, is that experience valid or is it illusory?"), only to discard the illusion answer as it
This is a short book created from lectures. It is easy to read and asks the important question "How do we fit in?" Searle accepts the dominant determinist view of the world as described by science, but insists that we take seriously our intuitive sense of being free. His effort to square the circle was, in the end, unconvincing to me. I won't go into it. What makes this book worth reading is his serious effort to bring freedom and neuroscience into a discourse. It is worth reading.
E. Michael
Let's differentiate animal and human will, for a moment. Human beings aren't simply social animals - we can no longer say we're the only ones - we are political animals. Searle, in a sometimes frustratingly repetitive way (many would say I explain things the same way), argues that without the fundamental promises we accept from our government(s), the many-featured promise that undergirds the institutions of, for instance, law, money, and marriage, we simply agree to be willing subjects of state- ...more
Truman Bullard
A very challenging book - even for a former Philosophy major - but
the writing style and the approach to the role Philosophy must take
in our day were both engaging and deeply reasoned.
Not one of his best works. The Rediscovery of the Mind is much better. I don't think he solved the problem of freewill, but he was definitely right on the presumption part.
Jul 03, 2008 Katherine marked it as to-read
I never took John Searle seriously because I only knew him from Limited Inc., where Derrida rips him a new one about the whole speech acts thing. This book sounds awesome.
Searle's ideas reminded me a little bit of Jiddu Krishnamurti. They are both pretty tough-minded when it comes to dealing with the facts of neuroscience.
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  • Neuroscience and Philosophy: Brain, Mind, and Language
  • Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript Notes by C.J. Warnock
  • Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism
  • Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness
  • Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity
  • Tree of Knowledge
  • Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind
  • The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World
  • Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction
  • Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind
  • The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason
  • Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought
  • Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited
  • Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind/Brain
  • Critique of Religion and Philosophy
  • Breakdown of Will
  • Grammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language, and Life
  • Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings
John Rogers Searle (born July 31, 1932 in Denver, Colorado) is an American philosopher and the Slusser Professor of Philosophy and Mills Professor of Philosophy of Mind and Language at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Widely noted for his contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and social philosophy, he was the first tenured professor to join the Free S ...more
More about John Rogers Searle...
The Construction of Social Reality Mind: A Brief Introduction The Mystery Of Consciousness Minds, Brains and Science (1984 Reith Lectures) The Rediscovery of the Mind (Representation and Mind)

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