Freedom and Neurobiology
Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power
By (author) John Searle
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Freedom and Neurobiology by John Searle
Book DescriptionOur 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 and Neurobiology, the philosopher John Searle discusses the possibility of free will within the context of contemporary neurobiology. He begins by explaining the relationship between human reality and the more fundamental reality as described by physics and chemistry. Then he proposes a neurobiological resolution to the problem by demonstrating how various conceptions of free will have different consequences for the neurobiology of consciousness. In the second half of the book, Searle applies his theory of social reality to the problem of political power, explaining the role of language in the formation of our political reality. The institutional structures that organize, empower, and regulate our lives-money, property, marriage, government-consist in the assignment and collective acceptance of certain statuses to objects and people. Whether it is the president of the United States, a twenty-dollar bill, or private property, these entities perform functions as determined by their status in our institutional reality. Searle focuses on the political powers that exist within these systems of status functions and the way in which language constitutes them. Searle argues that consciousness and rationality are crucial to our existence and that they are the result of the biological evolution of our species. He addresses the problem of free will within the context of a neurobiological conception of consciousness and rationality, and he addresses the problem of political power within the context of this analysis. A clear and concise contribution to the free-will debate and the study of cognition, Freedom and Neurobiology is essential reading for students and scholars of the philosophy of mind.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780231137539
(210mm x 140mm x 10mm)
Imprint: Columbia University Press
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 27-Aug-2008
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author John Searle
Seeing Things as They are, Hardback (March 2015)
This book provides a comprehensive account of the intentionality of perceptual experience. With special emphasis on vision Searle explains how the raw phenomenology of perception sets the content and the conditions of satisfaction of experience.
Making the Social World, Paperback (August 2011)
The renowned philosopher John Searle investigates the nature of social reality. How do institutions such as money, marriage, and government arise from the mere power of words? And how do mind, language, reason, and freedom come into being from the mindless, meaningless particles that make up the physical universe?
Freedom and Neurobiology, Hardback (October 2006)
Discusses the possibility of free will within the context of contemporary neurobiology. This work argues that consciousness and rationality are crucial to our existence and that they are the result of the biological evolution of our species. It also addresses the problem of political power within the context of this analysis.
Introduction to Bioethics, Paperback (July 2005)» View all books by John Searle
Introduction to Bioethics is a comprehensive introduction to the broad field of bioethics, focusing on key issues directly relevant to students of modern biological and medical sciences. Ethical issues relating to both plants and animals are covered, drawing out scientific, medical, social and religious concerns.
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Author Biography - John Searle
John Searle is Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of sixteen books, including Speech Acts; Expression and Meaning; Intentionality; Minds, Brains, and Science; The Rediscovery of the Mind; The Construction of Social Reality; Rationality in Action; and Mind: An Introduction. His works have been translated into twenty-one languages, and in 2004, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal.
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