Free Will: A Very Short Introduction - A Review of Thomas Pink's Book
Free will is one of the most fundamental and fascinating questions in philosophy. Do we have the ability to make genuine choices that are not determined by factors beyond our control Or are we merely puppets of nature, reason, or God And if our choices are not free, how can we be morally responsible for our actions
In his book Free Will: A Very Short Introduction, Thomas Pink, a professor of philosophy at King's College London, offers a clear and engaging overview of the main arguments and theories on this topic. He examines the views of the ancient and medieval philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas, as well as the modern thinkers, such as Hobbes, Hume, Kant, and Sartre. He also explores some of the contemporary debates and challenges, such as the problem of randomness, the role of self-determination, and the place of freedom in nature.
Pink argues that the traditional distinction between compatibilism and incompatibilism - the idea that free will is compatible or incompatible with causal determinism - is too simplistic and misleading. He proposes a new way of understanding free will as a form of action control that involves both reason and will. He defends a version of libertarianism that maintains that we have the power to act otherwise in some situations, even if our actions are causally influenced by prior factors. He also explains why this view does not entail any metaphysical absurdities or moral paradoxes.
Free Will: A Very Short Introduction is a concise and accessible introduction to this perennially fascinating subject. It is suitable for anyone who wants to learn more about the history, arguments, and implications of free will. It is also a valuable resource for students and scholars of philosophy, ethics, psychology, and theology.
The book is divided into eight chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of the free will problem. The first chapter introduces the main question and the basic concepts of action, causation, and determinism. The second chapter explains what it means to have free will as a form of action control, and why this is different from having freedom of action or freedom of choice. The third chapter discusses the role of reason in free will, and how rationality can both enable and constrain our choices. The fourth chapter explores the relationship between free will and nature, and whether natural laws or events can determine our actions.
The fifth chapter examines the moral implications of free will, and whether we can be held accountable for our actions if they are not free. The sixth chapter addresses some of the common objections and challenges to libertarianism, such as the problem of randomness, the problem of luck, and the problem of explanation. The seventh chapter presents Pink's own view of libertarianism, based on the idea of self-determination and the will. The eighth chapter considers the place of free will in nature, and whether it is compatible with scientific realism and naturalism.
The book is written in a clear and accessible style, with plenty of examples and illustrations. It also provides a useful glossary of terms, a list of references, and suggestions for further reading. It is an ideal introduction for anyone who wants to learn more about the history, arguments, and implications of free will. It is also a valuable resource for students and scholars of philosophy, ethics, psychology, and theology. aa16f39245