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Free Will

An Opinionated Guide

Alfred R. Mele

Publication Date - 10 August 2022

ISBN: 9780197574232

160 pages
5 x 7 inches inches

In Stock


Free Will: An Opinionated Guide offers a clear and straightforward introduction to a vexing topic, from an internationally recognized authority on free will.

What did you do a moment ago? What will you do after you read this? Are you deciding as we speak, or is something else going on in your brain or elsewhere in your body that is determining your actions? Stopping to think this way can freeze us in our tracks. A lot in the world feels far beyond our control--the last thing we need is to question whether we make our own choices in the way we usually assume we do. Questions about free will are so major and consequential that we may prefer not to think about them at all, lest we feel completely lost and unsure of everything we thought we knew!

Free will is certainly important, but it does not need to be daunting. Free Will: An Opinionated Guide offers a clear and straightforward introduction to this vexing topic. Drawing on decades of extensive research in philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology, internationally recognized authority on free will Alfred R. Mele explains and explores the most prominent theories, puzzles, and arguments about free will, all the while presenting his own distinctive take on the topic.

Mele's use of attention-grabbing thought experiments brings deep philosophical issues to life. He tackles the questions already on readers' minds and some they will encounter for the first time, on topics like determinism, neuroscience, and control. Whether this is the only book on free will you will read, or just the beginning of a deeper investigation, you will never think about free will, or the decisions you believe you're making, in the same ways again.


  • Provides a friendly entry to the lively debates and discussions that have surrounded free will for centuries
  • Explains the leading philosophical positions on free will in a way accessible to everyone
  • Written by an internationally recognized authority on free will who has studied the topic for decades
  • Puts forward a novel position on free will

About the Author(s)

Alfred R. Mele is the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. He is the author of twelve previous books and over 200 articles and editor of seven books. He is past director of two multi-million dollar, interdisciplinary projects: the Big Questions in Free Will project (2010-13) and the Philosophy and Science of Self-Control project (2014-17).


"Congratulations to Alfred Mele for another outstanding book! Free Will: An Opinionated Introduction is a superb tour through the ins and outs of the debate over whether normal folks have free will. Mele is certainly one of the world's leading philosophers working on the nature of action and the related topic of free will. In this book, he faces the questions of what free will is, the best arguments for why we do not have it, and his own forceful arguments for why, indeed, most of us do have it. This wonderful, accessible book will be interesting and fun to read for any educated person who wants a fair and clear-minded assessment of the current state of the free will debate. I also highly recommend it for use in an introductory college course, or even an advanced high school course." -- Michael McKenna, University of Arizona

"This wonderful book offers a lucid and entertaining introduction to a classic philosophical debate about a key aspect of the human essence, namely free will. The author is a highly respected and distinguished philosopher himself, and one who has for years scrupulously respected both sides of the debate. Using plain language and vivid examples, the book illuminates why thinkers have come to different conclusions. The title says the book is opinionated, but the author's opinions are judicious, so the reader can appreciate the best arguments on either side, as well as the weak points in each side's arguments. While this is a terrific book for readers seeking an up-to-date introduction to the disputes, seasoned readers familiar with the field will also find much that is new, helpful, and informative." -- Roy F. Baumeister, author of The Self Explained: Why and How We Become Who We Are

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. Getting Started
    Chapter 2. A Straight Perspective on Free Will
    Chapter 3. Alternative Possibilities, Frankfurt-Style Stories, and the Consequence Argument
    Chapter 4. A Whirlwind Tour of a Mixed Perspective on Free Will
    Chapter 5. Exploring a Mixed Conception of Free Will
    Chapter 6. Some Sources of Skepticism about Free Will
    Chapter 7. More Skeptical Arguments
    Chapter 8. Free Will and Neuroscience
    Chapter 9. Wrapping Things up