The legendary author of Behave shows that free will can not exist and explores the radical and disturbing implications
In a masterful synthesis of science and philosophy, one of the world’s pre-eminent behavioural scientists demonstrates that free will is a powerful and dangerous illusion. The result is a new way to think about choice, identity, responsibility, justice, morality and how we live together.
Without free will, it makes no more sense to punish people for antisocial behaviour than it does to scold a car for breaking down. It is no one’s fault they are poor or overweight or unsuccessful, nor do people deserve praise for their talent or hard work; ‘grit’ is a myth. This mechanistic view of human behaviour challenges our most powerful instincts, but history suggests that we have already made great strides toward it- where once we saw demonic possession or cowardice, for example, now we diagnose illness or trauma and offer help.
Disturbing and liberating in equal measure, Determined explores the far-reaching implications for society of accepting this reality. Monumentally difficult as it may be, the reward will be a far more just and humane world.
Imprint: Bodley Head UK
Publication date: 19/10/2023