Anselm Ramelow

Anselm Ramelow

Professor of Philosophy; Senior Fellow, Berkeley Institute

Do We Have Free Will?

It seems hardly possible to lead a meaningful life without assuming the freedom to choose and to pursue goals and purposes. Nevertheless, throughout history this assumption has been challenged, be it by Marxists, psychologists or, more recently, by neurophysiologists. Almost all of these challenges to free will are rooted in forms of materialism. Other challenges, however, are religious in nature (predestination). With the help of some key texts, which will be provided, we will see how free will is best understood, and what grounds we have for assuming its existence.

Dates: Thursday evenings on 4.5, 4.12, 4.19, 4.26.

Time: 5:30-7:00pm

Location: Berkeley Institute, 2134 Allston Way

Reading Schedule:

4/5: Jean-Paul Sartre, “Freedom and Responsibility“; B.F. Skinner, “Walden Two” (excerpt). First part of Timothy O’Connor, “Conscious Willing and the Emerging Sciences of Brain and Behavior”.

4/12:  Timothy O’Connor, “Conscious Willing and the Emerging Sciences of Brain and Behavior” (cont); Robert Albritton, “Freedom of Will and Freedom of Action”.

4/19: St. Augustine, Confessions, book 8 (excerpt); St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, qq. 9-10 (excerpt).

4/26: St. Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, q. 22, article 8.

**This seminar is free and open to all Cal, St. Mary’s, and GTU students.