Free Will: The Basics  book cover
2nd Edition

Free Will: The Basics

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 16, 2021
ISBN 9781138366893
September 16, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

The issue of whether humans are free to make their own decisions has long been debated, and it continues to be controversial today. In Free Will: The Basics Meghan Griffith provides a clear and accessible introduction to this important but challenging philosophical problem. She addresses the questions central to the topic including:

  • Does free will exist? Or is it illusory?
  • Can we be free even if everything is determined by a chain of causes? If our actions are not determined, does this mean they are just random or a matter of luck?
  • In order to have the kind of freedom required for moral responsibility, must we have alternatives?
  • What can recent developments in science tell us about the existence of free will?

These questions are discussed without prejudicing one view over others, and all technical terminology is clearly explained.

This second edition has been revised and updated throughout, with the addition of new sections on dispositionalism, free will as self-organization, and situationism in psychology. Up-to-date suggestions for further reading and a glossary are also included, making Free Will: The Basics an ideal introduction for anyone coming to the subject for the first time.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 

2. The Compatibility Issue 

3. Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities 

4. Some Compatibilist Proposals 

5. Some Incompatibilist Proposals 

6. Other Positions 

7. Free Will and Science 

8. Where Does This Leave Us? Some Concluding Thoughts.



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Meghan Griffith is Professor of Philosophy at Davidson College, USA. She specializes in metaphysics, free will, moral responsibility, and action theory.


Praise for the first edition:

"This is an absolutely wonderful introductory book on the issues surrounding the very lively debates about free will and moral responsibility. This area of philosophy has been extremely active in the last two or three decades, and Griffith presents ‘the basics’ in a clear and accessible way. The author has a gift for getting right to the heart of the issues. I highly recommend this book." - John Martin Fischer, University of California - Riverside, USA

"Free Will: The Basics is an excellent introduction to free will. Griffith’s writing is lucid and engaging. She instructively surveys the major philosophical theories, controversies, and arguments about free will while keeping in view for her readers the relevance of her important topic to their lives." - Alfred R. Mele, Florida State University, USA