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TagDiana Gitig

Independent Thinking

The Free Will Debate Really Heated Up This Year

Many commentators are weighing in; surprisingly, perhaps, well-known materialists are disputing the claim that there is no free will

The two big books of the season on free will are primatologist Robert Sapolsky’s Determined (Penguin 2023), which maintains that there is no free will, and neuroscientist Kevin Mitchell’s Free Agents (Princeton University Press, 2023), which maintains that evolution gave us free will. Prominent cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker argues that Sapolsky is wrong to say there is no free will because 1. Levels of analysis. The fact that individual neurons are deterministic doesn’t mean that an intricate assembly of billions of neurons is deterministic. Matter is mostly empty space, but that doesn’t mean we can walk through walls…. 2. Determinism in the technical math sense (input perfectly predicting output) is false when applied to human behavior. Identical twins reared together Read More ›