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Free Agents

How Evolution Gave Us Free Will

"

A challenge to neuro-reductionism. . . . As Mitchell explains the growth of agency across 12 penetrating and fluent chapters, they read not like a series of academic lectures but rather a stimulating conversation where a reader’s next question is anticipated and answered.

"---Peter Sterling, Current Biology

363,-
Innbundet
Sendes innen 7 virkedager

Detaljer

Forlag
Princeton University Press
Innbinding
Innbundet
Språk
Engelsk
Sider
352
ISBN
9780691226231
Utgivelsesår
2023
Format
24 x 16 cm

Anmeldelser

"

A challenge to neuro-reductionism. . . . As Mitchell explains the growth of agency across 12 penetrating and fluent chapters, they read not like a series of academic lectures but rather a stimulating conversation where a reader’s next question is anticipated and answered.

"---Peter Sterling, Current Biology

"

A sophisticated, scientific response to determinism. . . . [A] provocative and special contribution to the discourse on free will.

"---Stetson Thacker, Holodoxa

"Ground-breaking. . . .A significant contribution to the free will debate."

Paradigm Explorer

"A New Statesman Best Book of the Academic Presses"

"A highly original and very persuasive book. . . .Carefully argued and fair-minded but forceful in its conclusions, Free Agents is interdisciplinary research at its best."---Joe Humphreys, Irish Times

"Mitchell's compelling and absorbing book acts both as a synthesizing primer about evolution and a powerful argument for free will. Its importance and quality are undeniable. A bold, brilliant must-read that should reach a large audience."

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Humans are not, says Kevin Mitchell, the playthings of predestination. Millennia of evolution means that our nervous systems have given us the wherewithal both to imagine and to predict. Mitchell explains how this power came about and why it matters."

New Statesman

"

Two popular books. . . have breathed new life into the ancient debate over whether we have free will. In Free Agents, Kevin Mitchell argues that we do, and in Determined, Robert Sapolsky argues that we don’t. To be blunt, on the big issue at hand – Mitchell is right and Sapolsky is wrong. . . . [H]ow can the information in our brains come together to form a coherent and causally potent self? Mitchell offers a strikingly lucid evolutionary story of how such a self emerged.

"---Oliver Waters, Three Quarks Daily

"An eloquent defense of our common-sense understanding of the mind. . . . [E]xcellent."---Andrew Crumey, Wall Street Journal

"[Mitchell] makes a powerful case that history of life, in all its complex grandeur, cannot be appreciated until we understand the evolution of agency—and then, in creatures of sufficient complexity, the evolution of conscious free will. . . . [Free Agents] builds an argument that is methodical and crisp, and cuts through years of disputation like a knife through cotton candy."---James Gleick, New York Review of Books

"Provocative."

Publishers Weekly

"Mitchell’s retelling of life’s history turns out to be a fascinating exercise with relevance far beyond the free will debate. . . . Free Agents is a tightly argued and compelling case in favour of free will. Mitchell proves himself an able wordsmith who crams profound ideas in short sentences that benefit from reading and unpacking slowly. . . . [A] spectacular read."---Leon Vlieger, Inquisitive Biologist

"Mitchell persuasively develops a more modest conception of free will that entails the evolved ability to make real choices in the service of our goals—that is, to act for our own reasons. This carefully argued, information-dense book will put a dent in any intellectual predilection toward determinism that some readers may have. It certainly did mine."---Ronald Bailey, Reason

"Mitchell’s naturalization of free will shows that it need not be some mysterious non-physical force, but instead a cognitive phenomenon in which all manner of influences. . .are integrated into decisions to act, formulated with varying degrees of conscious awareness (of genuine will, you might say). “You” don’t generate free will; rather, the mental processes of deliberation are a part of what makes you."---Philip Ball, Times Literary Supplement

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