Freedom Regained | Granta

  • Published: 02/04/2015
  • ISBN: 9781847087195
  • Granta Books
  • 256 pages

Freedom Regained

Julian Baggini

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’, Guardian

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, Observer

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, Literary Review

The Author

JULIAN BAGGINI’s books include the Sunday Times-bestselling How the World Thinks; How to Think Like a Philosopher; The Virtues of the Table; and the bestseller The Pig That Wants to be Eaten, all published by Granta Books. He is the Academic Director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and is a member of the Food Ethics Council. He has written for the Guardian, the TLS, the Financial Times and Prospect, among other publications, and for academic journals and think tanks. His website is julianbaggini.com.

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