Published: 3 March 2016
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 256 pages
The Possibility of Free Will
Do we have free will? It's a question that has puzzled philosophers and theologians for centuries and feeds into numerous political, social, and personal concerns. Are we products of our culture, or free agents within it? How much responsibility should we take for our actions? Are our neural pathways fixed early on by a mixture of nature and nurture, or is the possibility of comprehensive, intentional psychological change always open to us? What role does our brain play in the construction of free will, and how much scientific evidence is there for the existence of it? What exactly are we talking about when we talk about 'freedom' anyway?
In this cogent and compelling book, Julian Baggini explores the concept of free will from every angle, blending philosophy, neuroscience, sociology and cognitive science. Freedom Regained brings the issues raised by the possibilities - and denials - of free will to vivid life, drawing on scientific research and fascinating encounters with expert witnesses, from artists to addicts, prisoners to dissidents. Contemporary thinking tells us that free will is an illusion, and Baggini challenges this position, providing instead a new, more positive understanding of our sense of personal freedom: a freedom worth having.
‘[An] excellent book’ Terry Eagleton ‘Book of the Week’
‘Freedom Regained is both balanced and convincing, and has many other virtues besides. [It] is a wide-ranging, wise and stimulating survey... [and a] stimulating book for those wishing to peel back some of the many layers of what it means to be free’ Stephen Cave
‘Baggini is that happy thing - a philosopher who recognises that readers go glassy-eyed if presented with high-octane philosophical discourse. And yet [it] is in all our interests to consider crucial aspects of what it means to be human... [An] excellent book’ Salley Vickers
‘Rarely has the idea of freedom been so popular in practice and so disdained in theory... In this excellent book [Baggini] asks, why should free choices be exclusively conscious ones?’ Terry Eagleton