Freedom Regained

The Possibility of Free Will

Julian Baggini

Published: 3 March 2016
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 256 pages
ISBN: 9781847087188

Other Editions

Trade Paperback

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Published: 2 April 2015
Trade Paperback, A5
148x210mm, 256 pages
ISBN: 9781847087171

Ebook Available


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.

About the author

Image of Julian Baggini

Julian Baggini is the founder of The Philosophers' Magazine. His books include Do You Think What You Think You Think? (with Jeremy Stangroom), What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life, the best-selling The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten, The Ego Trick and The Virtues of the Table, all published by Granta Books. He has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, as well as for the think tanks The Institute of Public Policy Research, Demos and Counterpoint. He has also appeared as a character in two Alexander McCall-Smith novels. His latest book, Freedom Regained, was published by Granta Books in 2015. His website is: More about the author


‘[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

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