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Of Liberty and Necessity: The Free Will Debate in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy

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In Of Liberty and Necessity James A. Harris presents the first comprehensive account of the free will problem in eighteenth-century British philosophy. Harris proposes new interpretations of the positions of familiar figures such as Locke, Hume, Edwards, and Reid. He also gives careful attention to writers such as William King, Samuel Clarke, Anthony Collins, Lord Kames, James Beattie, David Hartley, Joseph Priestley, and Dugald Stewart, who, while well known in the eighteenth century, have since been largely ignored by historians of philosophy. Through detailed textual analysis, and by making precise use of a variety of different contexts, Harris elucidates the contribution that each of these writers makes to the eighteenth-century discussion of the will and its freedom.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...deepens our understanding of the history of eighteenth-century British accounts of freedom by placing the well known accounts of Locke, Hume, and Reid in a richer context than is usually considered by historians of early modern philosophy." — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199268603
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/11/2005
  • Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs Series
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

University of St Andrews
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Table of Contents

Introduction : from Locke to Dugald Stewart
1 Locke's chapter 'of power' and its eighteenth-century reception
2 King, Clarke, Collins
3 Hume's reconciling project
4 Kames's hypothesis
5 Jonathan Edwards against Arminianism
6 The bare authority of feeling : James Beattie in context
7 Hartley, Tucker, Priestley
8 Science and freedom in Thomas Reid
9 Liberty and necessity after Reid
Postscript : the nineteenth century and afterwards
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