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Finding Ourselves at the MoviesPhilosophy for a New Generation$
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Paul Kahn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164382

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164382.001.0001

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Freedom and Persuasion

Freedom and Persuasion

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter 2 Freedom and Persuasion
Source:
Finding Ourselves at the Movies
Author(s):

Paul W. Kahn

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231164382.003.0002

This chapter argues that freedom is a matter of taking responsibility, but such an idea could be misunderstood if seen as some form of practical syllogism where an abstract, normative proposition is applied to a set of discrete facts. It begins by looking at the problem of freedom and seeking to understand how free action is possible in a world of causal determinism. Decision is a function of neither mind nor body, neither proof nor cause, but of an engaged imagination; one decides the moment he is persuaded to see the world one way rather than another. The chapter cites The Sweet Hereafter (1997), a film about a lawyer, for its take on the concept of persuasion—lawyers persuade a decision maker to see the facts as an expression or violation of a norm.

Keywords:   freedom, practical syllogism, causal determinism, persuasion, The Sweet Hereafter

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