Free Will and Values

By Robert Kane

Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780887061028, 229 pages, November 1985
Hardcover : 9780887061011, 229 pages, November 1985

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A philosophical analysis of free will and the relativity of values.


This book shows how two topics of longstanding philosophical interest—free will and value relativism—are connected in unsuspected ways. The ancient doctrine that all values are relative provides clues needed to resolve some important philosophical problems about free will. One of these problems concerns theories that deny the compatibility of free will and determinism; it is often said that such "incompatibilist" theories involve obscure conceptions of agency and are essentially mysterious. The book answers this charge by developing—in greater detail than has ever been attempted before—an incompatibilist theory of freedom consistent with current scientific evidence, avoiding all appeals to obscure or mysterious forms of agency. This theory exploits neglected clues in the history of philosophy about free will and action, objectivity and relativism in ethics, and about the foundations of liberalism in political theory.

R. Kane is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin.