•  1609
    Realistic monism: why physicalism entails panpsychism
    In A. Freeman (ed.), Consciousness and its place in nature: does physicalism entail panpsychism?, . pp. 3-31. 2006.
  •  1504
    I argue against two popular claims. The first is a descriptive, empiri- cal thesis about the nature of ordinary human experience: ‘each of us constructs and lives a “narrative” . . . this narrative is us, our identities’ (Oliver Sacks); ‘self is a perpetually rewritten story . . . in the end, we become the autobiographical narratives by which we “tell about” our lives’ (Jerry Bruner); ‘we are all virtuoso novelists. . . . We try to make all of our material cohere into a single good story. And th…Read more
  •  1489
    Mind and Being: The Primacy of Panpsychism
    In Godehard Brüntrup & Ludwig Jaskolla (eds.), Panpsychism: Contemporary Perspectives, Oxford University Press. pp. 000-00. 2016.
    I endorse a 12-word metaphysics. [1] Stoff ist Kraft ≈ being is energy. [2] Wesen ist Werden ≈ being is becoming. [3] Sein ist Sosein ≈ being is qualit[ativit]y. [4] Ansichsein ist Fürsichsein ≈ being is mind. [1]–[3] are plausible metaphysical principles and unprejudiced consideration of what we know about concrete reality obliges us to favor [4], i.e. panpsychism or panexperientialism, above all other positive substantive proposals. For [i] panpsychism is the most ontologically parsimonious vi…Read more
  •  813
    The Bounds of freedom
    In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, Oxford University Press. pp. 441-460. 2002.
    The shortest form of the Basic Argument against free will and moral responsibility runs as follows: [1] When you act, you do what you do—in the situation in which you find yourself—because of the way you are. [2] If you do what you do because of the way you are, then in order to be fully and ultimately responsible for what you do you must be fully and ultimately responsible for the way you are. But [3] You cannot be fully and ultimately responsible for the way you are. So [4] You cannot be fully…Read more
  •  750
    ‘the Self’
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 4 (5-6): 405-428. 1997.
    Recommends an approach to the philosophical problem about the existence and nature of the self in which the author models the problem of the self rather than attempting to model the self. It is suggested that the sense of the self is the source in experience of the philosophical problem of the self. The first question to ask is the phenomenological question: What is the nature of the sense of the self? But this, in the first instance, is best taken as a question explicitly about human beings: as…Read more
  •  737
    Realistic Materialist Monism
    In S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak & D. Chalmers (eds.), Towards a Science of Consciousness III, . 1999.
    Short version of 'Real materialism', given at Tucson III Conference, 1998. (1) physicalism is true (2) the qualitative character of experience is real, as most naively understood ... so (3) the qualitative character of experience (considered specifically as such) is wholly physical. ‘How can consciousness possibly be physical, given what we know about the physical?’ To ask this question is already to have gone wrong. We have no good reason (as Priestley and Russell and others observe) to think …Read more
  •  504
    The identity of the categorical and the dispositional
    Analysis 68 (4): 271-282. 2008.
    Suppose that X and Y can’t possibly exist apart in reality; then—by definition—there’s no real distinction between them, only a conceptual distinction. There’s a conceptual distinction between a rectilinear figure’s triangularity and its trilaterality, for example, but no real distinction. In fundamental metaphysics there is no real distinction between an object’s categorical properties and its dispositional properties. So too there is no real distinction between an object and its properties. An…Read more
  •  469
    On the inevitability of freedom (from the compatibilist point of view)
    American Philosophical Quarterly 23 (4): 393-400. 1986.
    This paper argues that ability to do otherwise (in the compatibilist sense) at the moment of initiation of action is a necessary condition of being able to act at all. If the argument is correct, it shows that Harry Frankfurt never provided a genuine counterexample to the 'principles of alternative possibilities' in his 1969 paper ‘Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility’. The paper was written without knowledge of Frankfurt's paper.
  •  308
    Freedom and Belief
    Oxford University Press. 1986.
    On the whole, we continue to believe firmly both that we have free will and that we are morally responsible for what we do. Here, the author argues that there is a fundamental sense in which there is no such thing as free will or true moral responsibility (as ordinarily understood). Devoting the main body of his book to an attempt to explain why we continue to believe as we do, Strawson examines various aspects of the "cognitive phenomenology" of freedom--the nature, causes, and consequences of …Read more
  •  307
    Mental ballistics or the involuntariness of spontaniety
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3): 227-257. 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 Spin…Read more
  •  307
    This version of this paper has been superseded by a substantially revised version in G. Strawson, Real Materialism and Other Essays (OUP 2008) I take 'content' in a natural internalist way to refer to occurrent mental content. I introduce a 'thin' or ‘live’ notion of the subject according to which a subject of experience cannot exist unless there is an experience for it to be the subject of. I then argue, first, that in the case of a particular experience E, its content C, and its (thin) subje…Read more
  •  284
    ‘Free will’ is the conventional name of a topic that is best discussed without reference to the will. It is a topic in metaphysics and ethics as much as in the philosophy of mind. Its central questions are ‘What is it to act (or choose) freely?’, and ‘What is it to be morally responsible for one’s actions (or choices)?’ These two questions are closely connected, for it seems clear that freedom of action is a necessary condition of moral responsibility, even if it is not sufficient.
  •  266
    Consciousness, free will, and the unimportance of determinism
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32 (March): 3-27. 1989.
    This article begins with some brief reflexions on the definition of determinism (II), on the notion of the subject of experience (III), and on the relation between conscious experience and brain events (IV). The main discussion (V?XIII) focuses on the traditional view, endorsed by Honderich in his book A Theory of Determinism, that the truth of determinism poses some special threat to our ordinary conception of ourselves as morally responsible free agents (and also to our ?life?hopes'). It is ar…Read more
  •  255
    Mental Reality
    MIT Press. 1994.
    Introduction -- A default position -- Experience -- The character of experience -- Understanding-experience -- A note about dispositional mental states -- Purely experiential content -- An account of four seconds of thought -- Questions -- The mental and the nonmental -- The mental and the publicly observable -- The mental and the behavioral -- Neobehaviorism and reductionism -- Naturalism in the philosophy of mind -- Conclusion: The three questions -- Agnostic materialism, part 1 -- Monism -- T…Read more
  •  239
    Real Intentionality V.2: Why Intentionality Entails Consciousness
    Synthesis Philosophica 20 (2): 279-297. 2005.
    Intentionality is an essentially mental, essentially occurrent, and essentially experiential phenomenon. Any attempt to characterize intentionality that detaches it from conscious experience faces two insuperable problems. First, it is obliged to concede that almost everything has intentionality—all the way down to subatomic particles. Second, it has the consequence that everything that has intentionality has far too much of it—perhaps an infinite amount. The key to a satisfactory and truly natu…Read more
  •  207
    ‘Free will’ is the conventional name of a topic that is best discussed without reference to the will. It is a topic in metaphysics and ethics as much as in the philosophy of mind. Its central questions are ‘What is it to act (or choose) freely?’, and ‘What is it to be morally responsible for one’s actions (or choices)?’ These two questions are closely connected, for it seems clear that freedom of action is a necessary condition of moral responsibility, even if it is not sufficient
  •  206
    Real materialism
    In Louise M. Antony (ed.), Chomsky and His Critics, Blackwell. pp. 49--88. 2003.
    (1) Materialists hold that every real, concrete phenomenon in the universe is a wholly physical phenomenon. (2) Consciousness ('what-it's-likeness', etc.) is the most certainly existing real, concrete phenomenon there is. It follows that (3) all serious materialists must grant that consciousness is a wholly physical phenomenon. ‘How can consciousness possibly be physical, given what we know about the physical?’ To ask this question is already to have gone wrong. We have no good reason (as Prie…Read more
  •  198
    It is widely supposed that David Hume invented and espoused the "regularity" theory of causation, holding that causal relations are nothing but a matter of one type of thing being regularly followed by another. It is also widely supposed that he was not only right about this, but that it was one of his greatest contributions to philosophy. Strawson here argues that the regularity theory of causation is indefensible, and that Hume never adopted it in any case. Strawson maintains that Hume did not…Read more
  •  197
    The self and the SESMET
    In Journal of Consciousness Studies, Thorverton Uk: Imprint Academic. pp. 99-135. 2002.
    Response to commentaries on keynote article
  •  186
    Red and 'red'
    Synthese 78 (February): 193-232. 1989.
    THIS PAPER ARGUES FOR THE CLAIM THAT ALTHOUGH COLOUR WORDS LIKE 'RED' ARE, ESSENTIALLY, 'PHENOMENAL-QUALITY' WORDS—I.E., WORDS FOR PROPERTIES WHOSE WHOLE AND ESSENTIAL NATURE CAN BE AND IS FULLY REVEALED IN SENSORY EXPERIENCE, GIVEN ONLY THE QUALITATIVE CHARACTER THAT THAT EXPERIENCE HAS—STILL 'RED' CANNOT BE SUPPOSED TO BE A WORD THAT PICKS OUT OR DENOTES ANY PARTICULAR PHENOMENAL QUALITY. THE ARGUMENT RESTS ESSENTIALLY ON THE SUPPOSITION, OFTEN DISCUSSED UNDER THE HEADING OF THE 'COLOR-SPECTRU…Read more
  •  172
    Why I have no future
    The Philosophers' Magazine 38 (38): 21-26. 2007.
  •  172
    Real intentionality
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3 (3): 287-313. 2004.
    This version of this paper has been superseded by a substantially revised version in G. Strawson, Real Materialism and Other Essays (OUP 2008)
  •  171
    Episodic Ethics
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 60 85-116. 2007.
    I guess I wont send that note now, for the mind is such a new place, last night feels obsolete.
  •  168
    The Evident Connexion: Hume on Personal Identity
    Oxford University Press. 2011.
    This lucid book is the first to be wholly dedicated to Hume's theory of personal identity, and presents a bold new interpretation which bears directly on ...
  •  163
    Real Materialism: And Other Essays
    Oxford University Press. 2008.
    Real Materialism is a collection of highly original essays on a set of related topics in philosophy of mind and metaphysics: consciousness and the mind-body problem; our knowledge of the world; the nature of the self or subject; free will and moral responsibility; the nature of thought and intentionality; causation and David Hume.
  •  161
    Selves: An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics
    Oxford University Press. 2009.
    What is the self? Does it exist? If it does exist, what is it like? It's not clear that we even know what we're asking about when we ask these large, metaphysical questions. The idea of the self comes very naturally to us, and it seems rather important, but it's also extremely puzzling. As for the word "self"--it's been taken in so many different ways that it seems that you can mean more or less what you like by it and come up with almost any answer. Galen Strawson proposes to approach the (seem…Read more
  •  158
    Replies to Noam Chomsky, Pierre Jacob, Michael Smith, and Paul Snowdon Mind and World
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2): 461. 1998.