In this group, we will reflect on the philosophical problem of free will, using two short books that take different positions on the topic. These works are Free Will by Sam Harris (Free Press 2012) and Free Will by Mark Balaguer (MIT Press 2014). (Both books are short, readable, and inexpensive.) We will enrich our discussions of these works with material from other readings and relevant personal experience.
What is free will? If we are caused to do what we do, how could we have a free choice? Could we have done anything different from what we did? On the other hand, if our choices and actions are not caused, would that mean they are simply random? Do we know we have free will because of our inner feeling that we are making choices that could go either way? If there is no free will, could there be such a thing as a ‘free won’t’, when in a split second we resist an urge coming from a process in the brain? What would moral responsibility amount to if we did not have free will? Would praise or blame, reward or punishment, make sense?
These are some of the many questions that we will explore in lively discussions of the problem of free will.
Facilitator Trudy Govier retired in 2012 from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Lethbridge. She is the author of some thirteen books including A Practical Study of Argument, Dilemmas of Trust, and Forgiveness and Revenge. Trudy has facilitated a number of other groups for CALL, exploring topics in ethics, philosophy of religion, and outstanding women in the history of western philosophy.
|When:||6 Wednesday afternoons|
|Time:||1:00PM - 3:00 PM|
|Dates:||Sept. 18; Oct. 2, 16 and 30; Nov. 13, 27|
|Where:||Home of facilitator, northwest Calgary; address to be supplied to participants|
*Before you register, you must be a member of CALL.