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Friedman, L. (1965). The Significance of Determinism and Free will. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:515-520.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:515-520

The Significance of Determinism and Free will

Lawrence Friedman


1. Objection is made to the argument that the persistent belief in determinism is empirically unfounded, and that free will designates only a variable feeling of freedom from internal compulsion.

2. Hume demonstrated not that we can dispense with the notion of causality but that we cannot dispense with it. The adequacy of the attempt by the positivists to dispense with the notion while preserving induction is challenged.

3. Determinism must not be evaluated as an isolated concept. The validity of memory, the meaning of personal identity, the possibility of communication, and the concept of enduring objects will not survive causal scepticism. Nor, in the last analysis, will any other feature of our experience.

4. To the psychological and moral meanings

of free will is added that meaning which reflects the continued novelty introduced by time. Attention is called to the suggestion of the chemist–philosopher Meyerson that this novelty constitutes an inexhaustible puzzle which is continuously, but never completely, solved by the determinism of science.

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