Category Archives: free will

A new BBC video on free will

The BBC has just begun a video series on free will, and, thanks to reader Tom C., I got a link to part 1 of 3. The BBC’s notes are these: There are many forces behind our everyday decisions. In a three part series we look at the hidden powers behind the choices we make. […]

Panpsychism: a big bag of nothing

I was suckered by the Courtier’s Reply of panpsychists like Philip Goff, and so have finished his popular (i.e., trade) book, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. I am not going to summarize it or review it at length, as it says little beyond what I’ve summarized previously. It has not convinced […]

The weirdness of split-brain experiments

I’m reading Annaka Harris‘s recent book Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind, which is a short but very readable and absorbing account of recent work on consciousness, both empirical and philosophical. Although she seems to have a weakness for panpsychism, I’m not yet through with that bit and so will […]

Podcast: Dan Dennett and Sean Carroll on illusions, consciousness, free will, and other stuff

Reader Paul called my attention to a new episode of Sean Carroll’s Mindscape podcast. It’s two hours long, so of course I don’t have the patience to listen to it (you can by clicking on the screenshot below), but fortunately there’s a transcript you can get by clicking on “Click to show episode transcript” near […]

A new interview with Steve Pinker

I’ve often been a defender of Steve Pinker, and it’s because I agree with most of what he says and because I think he’s been unfairly maligned—perhaps the most unfairly maligned public intellectual in the U.S.. But today I’m going to praise and criticize his views, largely praising his views on identity politics but criticizing […]

Bret Weinstein on free will and moral responsibility

Bret Weinstein posted this short video on free will, and then, as often seems to be the case, he added on Twitter that it doesn’t really encapsulate his ideas. At any rate, in the video Bret says that he accepts free will (without defining it—a necessary first step in any such discussion), and adds that […]

In which I diverge from Steve Pinker on free will

Well, I’m not always in accordance with the views of Steve Pinker, and I found this short Big Think video he did on free will (full transcript below) in which we part company in several ways. Granted, not completely. Steve is still a determinist here (to some extent; but see below). For instance, he says […]

More squabbling about free will in Quillette: William Edwards now finds libertarian free will in the “singularities” of physics

In July, writer and philosopher William Tomos Edwards wrote a piece in Quillette called “The Academic Quarrel over Determinism“. This irked me because Edwards wound up arguing that whether or not libertarian “you-could-have-done-otherwise” free will be true, we should believe in it anyway because the payoff (a better society and more individual well being) outweighs the […]

A new movie on free will

The new movie Free Will Documentary—presumably an interim title—won’t be released until next year, but I’m looking forward to it eagerly. And that’s not just because I was interviewed for it, but because it touches on a topic dear to my heart, because the four filmmakers (Mike Walsh, Jeremy Levy, Mitch Joseph, and Edward Tasick) […]

More mishigas about free will, this time in the TLS

The Times Literary Supplement, which I used to write for, doesn’t often make its articles free online, but this one was (click on screenshot below to see it). And it’s about free will: a review of three books on the topic (The Limits of Free Will: Selected essays by Paul Russell, Aspects of Agency: Decisions, […]