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Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Do we have free will? It's a question that has puzzled philosophers and theologians for centuries, remains one of the most intractable, and feeds into numerous smaller social, political and personal concerns. Are we products of our culture, or free agents within it? Are our neural pathways fixed early on by a mixture of nature and nurture, or is the possibility of comprehe ...more
Paperback, 239 pages
Published June 6th 2015 by Granta Books (first published April 2nd 2015)
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Anna (Ink of Books)
Genau sowas will ich eigentlich die ganze Zeit lesen! 😍
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
2.5 stars.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Every review I've read has been terribly enthusiastic about this book. And don't get me wrong, I thought it was really interesting - intelligent and challenging. But I can't deny that there were a few things that irritated me about it. The author seemed to assume that the reader would automatically agree with his assessment of various theories and arguments, leading to statements like "No-one could deny..." - well, actually, why couldn't they? It annoyed me that he couldn't seem to admit that pe ...more
Paul Ataua
Aug 10, 2016 rated it liked it
‘Freedom Regained’ touches on most of the main positions in the free will/ determinism debate, and Baggini manages to present the arguments in a totally accessible way. There is little new or astounding here, but maybe there doesn’t need to be. It reads well and stimulates. Who could ask for more?
Stephen Palmer
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Free will is one of the most contentious - if not the most contentious - subjects for philosophical enquiry, but Baggini in his excellent book makes his arguments, examples and conversations a delight to read. He takes on reductionists such as Sam Harris (who denies human beings have free will) and neuroscientists in particular in this no-holds-barred, but very readable survey.

Baggini's conclusion is that we do have free will, that philosophers using reductionist or individualist templates (i.e.
Greg Gauthier
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baggini does a fantastic job of dismantling the black-and-white dilemma of freedom versus determinism, and makes a strong case for thinking about the problem in terms of degrees (as a problem of 'vagueness', as it's called in traditional analytical circles). The more I study philosophy, the apparent it is to me that all philosophical problems are problems of vagueness: freedom, beauty, truth, goodness, happiness, and knowledge all involve layers of complex vagueness. One might argue that it is p ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The problem of free will has engaged, or should one say, haunted philosophers since the age of the classic philosophers, providing more or less fruitless, often misleading and even harmful efforts to explain the phenomenon. In the recent decades, science has added essential insights and provoked further discussions on this difficult problem. Julian Baggini tries to break up the often black or white approaches to the topic, questioning first our understanding of "free will." He argues for a more ...more
Dec 18, 2019 is currently reading it
By the time I post this review, its rating is around 3.7. I earnestly think that the book should deserve a higher rating. The concept of free will is very complicated. Julian is able to describe it in plain English, making it concise and easy to understand. It is also quite thought-provoking. It helps me start with a better understanding of the complications involved in the concept of free will from the sociological, philosophical, scientific and psychological perspectives.
Ogi Ogas
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
My ratings of books on Goodreads are solely a crude ranking of their utility to me, and not an evaluation of literary merit, entertainment value, social importance, humor, insightfulness, scientific accuracy, creative vigor, suspensefulness of plot, depth of characters, vitality of theme, excitement of climax, satisfaction of ending, or any other combination of dimensions of value which we are expected to boil down through some fabulous alchemy into a single digit.
Randy Hsieh
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I chose to read this because I am curious to see what modern philosophers have to say about free will.
It's not a bad book but I had trouble getting through it.
I would sometimes spend an hour reading and find that I had only gotten through a few pages but that's me.
Is it worth reading - I think yes.
If nothing else, it will give you something to think about, not only about the different ideas concerning free will but also on how to view things in general.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is a great contribution to the free will debate. I understand the arguments on all sides much better now. The matter is considered from many different angles and offers a rebuttal to those who simply dismiss compatibilism without seriously engaging with it. The free will debate is still far from settled, although now I do lean more towards compatibilism having read this.
The book comes to one conclusion which is that the idea of "free-will" as a human being is impossible. While at first, this is a scary concept the author does a good job justifying their position. Would you say that you have free will to act given the world suddenly heats up by 5 degrees or perhaps the environment now has a role to play on you? The book provides some excellent food for thought
John Turton
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, very clear. I just wish that I could remember all the arguments
Jessika Malo
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This book makes you think deeper at the subject of free will and autonomy. I felt that the writer was presenting rather a lot of different ideas and approaches about free will and leaving the reader to decide for himself/herself (How fitting). I liked the chapters and how they were titled and characterized. I have to say though that the dryness of the philosophical aspect of the book lead me to put aside and then go back to it again to be watered by few spills of examples or readings by other o ...more
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the clear manner of writing. It was relatively easy to understand. It felt like I was listening to a buddy talk philosophy to me over a beer at lunch. The thing I didn't like about this book was it wasn't clear what the point was. Of course the last chapter sums up what Julian thinks about freedom but leading up to the last chapter was a study of what freedom wasn't. I kept waiting for an explanation of what freedom is, in Julian's mind, and felt let down by the last chapter. It was an ...more
Maja Šoštarić
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very informative read. I was in dire need of some clarity on the subject, and this book provided me with such clarity from multiple perspectives (the artist's perspective is masterfully written). At times the author is slightly repetitive, which always turns me off, but he certainly offers insightful ideas. The free will debate is everything but black and white - and the book addresses some of the nuances that most of us easily overlook.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
A birthday present, so not my usual choice of book, but i still enjoyed it. He managed to blend in bits and bobs from neuroscientists, artists, judges etc without losing the flow of the book. The conclusion was a bit garbled but the rest was great.
Dylan Bartlett
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic contribution to the debate. Baggini writes clearly and illustrates the ideas and arguments with effective examples.
Elara Shurety
Aug 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
so shitty lmao
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Super clear and engaging, highly recommend.
John Paul Richard Thomas
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Dec 16, 2016
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David Kcol
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Jun 14, 2018
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Julian Baggini is a British philosopher and the author of several books about philosophy written for a general audience. He is the author of The Pig that Wants to be Eaten and 99 other thought experiments (2005) and is co-founder and editor of The Philosophers' Magazine. He was awarded his Ph.D. in 1996 from University College London for a thesis on the philosophy of personal identity. In addition ...more

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