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How Physics Makes Us Free


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Table of Contents

Preface Part I: Selves in Nature O A clash of facades 1 What am I? 2 The rise of the Self-governor 3 The Unity of the self Part II: Human Action and the Natural Order 4 How can I be free if my actions are determined by physical laws? The Consequence Argument 5 How can I be free if my actions are caused by things outside my control? Causation 6 The Open Future 7 The Paradox of Predictability 8 Self-Constitution; the making of the self Glossary Works Cited Suggestions for Further Reading Index

About the Author

J.T. Ismael is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. She earned her Ph.D at Princeton University and has also taught at Stanford University and the University of Arizona for many years. She has held fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the National Humanities Center, a QEII from the Australian Research Council and the Templeton Foundation. In addition to How Physics Makes Us Free, she is the author of The Situated Self (OUP 2007) and Essays on Symmetry (2001). She splits her time between Manhattan and the Sonoran Desert, where she is happier than anywhere else.


"Jenann Ismael's book is a strikingly original monograph that somehow manages to be perfectly relevant and highly engaging to both the intelligent lay reader and the professional philosopher. It shows how well done philosophy of science can be relevant for the public at large, even when treating questions that have, of late, suffered from the ravages of analytic metaphysics. The book may be more widely read inside the academy than outside, but those on the outside who read it in full will surely come away with a better opinion of philosophy than they had at the start. Ismael's prose is beautiful, evocative, and full of helpful metaphors and analogies...It is a book that nobody who cares about how human freedom squares with modern physicalism can afford to ignore." -- Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Online "It is very well written, in a punchy style that often makes it a page-turner...we wholeheartedly recommend this delightful and richly rewarding book to anyone interested in free will and the self." -- Metascience

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