17.11.11

"Afraid to Believe in Free Will" by Carl Begley




Don't you wish that there was someone else to blame for all of your mistakes? Of course you do. So do I. In the world of my self-deception I am to be praised for all the good in my life, able to take credit for my success, but all of my failures and bad decisions are the result of some form of determinism; I was raised that way, the social structures I inhabit left me no choice, or the devil made me do it.  In this book Begley argues, from the point of view of psychology, that we are indeed afraid of free will and the responsibility it thrusts upon us. Begley knows that we cannot prove, or disprove, the existence of free will. However, he take son some of the modern trends in science and psychology towards determinism and points out their flaws. He then argues that free will is central to what it is to be human and that we ought to, if we can, choose to believe in free will. 

I had no idea what to expect coming into this book. An examination of free will not taken from a theological perspective? You mean this isn't a book about Calvinism and Arminianism? No, indeed it is not. But then what is there to say? Well, a lot, as it turns out. And a very interesting 'lot' at that. Begley's examinations of the sources of resistance to free will, of various sorts, was highly interesting. His insights into the world of psychology and the skew towards determinism in the sciences were very much worth reading. I am still digesting all the details of this book, but I think it is more than worth reading and thinking about. 

Conclusion: 4 out of 5 stars. Conditionally Recommended. If this topic, or constellation of topics, interests you in the slightest then you should read this book. 

Book provided by Thomas Nelson for review. 

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