I am writing to let the readers of the blog know that I have been working behind the scenes to launch what I hope will be a new and exciting feature here on Flickers of Freedom. Starting in October (2012), the blog will host a "featured author" either monthly or bi-monthly (depending on how it goes!). The authors will be posting two to three times during the week they're being featured and they have also agreed to participate in the comment threads. To stimulate the discussion, I will also be asking a few people to be official commentators as well.
The goal is to model Featured Authors at Flickers after the two on-line philosophy conferences I organized years ago (see OPC1 and OPC2 to get a sense for how I envision this working). To kick things off, four Flickers of Freedom contributors have very graciously agreed to be the inaugural featured authors (see below). Down the road, I not only plan to invite senior philosophers and psychologists who don't usually contribute to this blog, but I also hope to feature some up and coming junior researchers as well. So, if you have any suggestions concerning who you'd like to see featured, please send me an email or post your suggestion in the thread. In the meantime, please help me spread the word through the blogosphere, the interwebs, and beyond! So far, John Martin Fischer, Saul Smilansky, Al Mele, Dana Nelkin, and Derk Pereboom, Michael McKenna, and Bruce Waller have all agreed to play along and several others have been invited as well (see below for details).
John Martin Fischer is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, where he has held a University of California President's
Chair (2006-10). He has written extensively on such topics as freedom of the will, moral responsibility, death, immortality, meaningfulness of life, and issues in normative ethics. He is the author of The Metaphysics of Free Will (1994); with Mark Ravizza, Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility (1998); and with Kane, Pereboom, and Vargas), Four Views on Free Will (2007). He is the author of three recent collections published by Oxford University Press: My Way: Essays on Free Will and Moral Responsibility (2006); Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will (2009); and Deep Control: Essays on Free Will and Value (2011).
Saul Smilansky is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Haifa. His main research interests are the free will problem; normative ethics (with special emphasis on moral paradoxes, meta-normative theory, and the notion of contribution); and the role of illusion and self-deception in our lives. He is presently working on some new paradoxes, and thinking on what all this paradoxicality might mean. He has also begun to work on a bigger project, which concerns the idea of what he calls "crazy ethics," whereby our true (or at least most plausible) moral beliefs might in some ways be "crazy." This project incorporates much of his previous work on free will, moral paradoxes, and illusion. He is the author of Free Will and Illusion (2000) and 10 Moral Paradoxes (2007).
Alfred R. Mele is the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University and director of the Big Questions in Free Will Project (2010-13). He is the author of Irrationality (1987), Springs of Action (1992), Autonomous Agents (1995), Self-Deception Unmasked (2001), Motivation and Agency (2003), Free Will and Luck (2006), Effective Intentions (2009), and Backsliding (2012). He also is the editor or co-editor of Mental Causation (1993), The Philosophy of Action (1997), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality (2004), Rationality and the Good (2007), and Free Will and Consciousness: How Might They Work? (2010).
Dana Nelkin is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California San Diego. Her research interests range over moral psychology, ethics, the intersection of ethics and the law, biomedical ethics, and psychology. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Philosophical Studies, Analysis, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, and The Philosophical Review. She recently published Making Sense of Freedom and Responsibility (2012).
Derk Pereboom is Professor of Philosophy at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1985, and taught at the University of Vermont before moving to Cornell. He is the author of Living without Free Will (2001), Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism (2011), and a co-author of Four Views on Free Will (with Robert Kane, John Martin Fischer, and Manuel Vargas, 2007). He has published articles on free will, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, and history of modern philosophy.
Michael McKenna is Professor and Keith Lehrer Chair in the Department of Philosophy and the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom at University of Arizona. He received his Ph.D. from University of Virginia in 1993 and taught previously at Ithaca College and Florida State University. He is the author of Conversation & Responsibility (OUP, 2012) and has published numerous articles, mostly on the topics of free will and moral responsibility. He is currently doing well and has not been required to speak with a parole officer in the last five years.
Bruce N. Waller is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Youngstown State University. In addition to several textbooks and a variety of journal articles, he has published Freedom Without Responsibility (1990), The Natural Selection of Responsibility (1998), and Against Moral Responsibility (2011). His major interests are examining the implications of contemporary psychological research for questions of ethics, free will, and moral responsibility; developing an account of natural free will that is psychologically and biologically plausible; and beating down the walls of moral responsibility and sowing salt in its fields.