Free Agents: How Evolution Gave Us Free Will, by Kevin Mitchell – a review

NB. I was sent this book as a review copy.

From Princeton University Press

There is much to like about this book. Kevin’s discussions on evolution and neuroscience are detailed, clear, and insightful. His writing in general flows nicely and much of the book is definitely a useful text. However, for me, this does not include the sections which actually talk about free will.

The problems start early on in the book, on page 21 where he says (bold font mine throughout):

Meaning became the driving force behind the choice of action by the organism. That choice is real: the fundamental indeterminacy in the universe means the future is not written. The low-level forces of physics by themselves do not determine the next state of a complex system. In most instances, even the details of the patterns of neural activity do not actually matter and are filtered out in transmission.