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XI—Mental Ballistics or the Involuntariness of Spontaneity

Galen Strawson
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0066-7372.2003.00071.x 227-256 First published online: 1 June 2003


It is sometimes said that reasoning, thought and judgement essentially involve action. It is sometimes said that they involve spontaneity, where spontaneity is taken to be connected in some constitutive way with action—intentional, voluntary and indeed free action. There is, however, a fundamental respect in which reason, thought and judgement neither are nor can be a matter of action; and any spontaneity they involve can be connected with freedom only when the word ‘freedom’ is used in the Spinozan-Kantian sense according to which freedom is a matter of ‘rational necessitation’, determination by reason.

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