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The question of causality has haunted the history of Western metaphysics since the time of the Pre-Socratic philosophy. Hand-in-hand with attempts to address this question is the promise of unlocking larger and more complicated questions pertaining to human freedom. But what of novelty? In this brilliant extended essay Donald A. Crosby contends that though novelty can't be comprehended without efficient causality, causality requires a concept of novelty; without it cause and effect relations are unintelligible and, indeed, impossible. Crosby, in an excellent, strong, and controversial way makes the claim that freedom is consciously directed novelty. In this way, novelty is distinctive; it is not to be mistaken with either unexpected intersections of causal chains or chaos. Crosby exposes the reality of novelty throughout the book and how it applies to time, possibility, forms of materiality and embodiment, the emergence of life from nonlife, the evloution and nature of consciousness, the methods and goals of education, the character of human history and the task of historians, and also the traits of a good society. In situating novelty so firmly in the crevices of daily life, Crosby connects it to our concept of ourself, our freedom, and how we understand our relationship to the world. Through masterful readings of Isaiah Berlin, Buber, Descartes, Plato, Smart, Whitehead, and especially Henri Bergson Donald Crosby sheds new light on an elusive yet foundational concept in the history of Western thought. This book is essential to process philosophy, humanism, existentialism, philosophy of mind and consciousness, and continental thought in general.
Chapter 1 Roles of Novelty Chapter 2 Time's Tooth Chapter 3 Changing Possibility Chapter 4 Protean Matter Chapter 5 Profuse Life Chapter 6 Purposive Mind Chapter 7 Evocational Education Chapter 8 Open Society