Did Myra Hindley deserve to be punished? Does any criminal? Is belief in free will an essential foundation for morality, or an excuse for unwarranted cruelty? Is free will a myth and, if so, can we let go of it? In this entertaining, accessible but deeply serious book, the author brings a refreshingly original approach to the age-old conflict between free will and determinism and comes down firmly against free will. But what does 'free will' mean? And if we rejected it, what would the consequences be? The author, a lawyer who has worked both on law reform at the Law Commission and in private practice, and has written legal and other books and articles, has turned to a subject which has interested him for over half a century. He strongly believes that it does not belong exclusively to philosophers. These questions should be of concern to everyone - and no one who is willing to look at them objectively should be afraid to judge for themselves and reach their own conclusions.
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`Most people are completely taken in by the illusion of free will. Happily, Richard Oerton is not among them. The Nonsense of Free Will is a wonderfully clear - and very clever - little book.' -- Sam Harris * author of The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape and Free Will * `There are philosophical, scientific, scholarly, novel, determined, American, pompous, dotty and other books on free will and determinism. There are also a few books that are lucid and informal introductions for ordinary readers and let you know that your free will does not exist. Richard Oerton's may be the best of these.' -- Professor Ted Honderich * Grote Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic, University College London * This book is superbly written and a delight to read. Starting as a clearly reasoned treatment of determinism, it merges seamlessly into a critique of English criminal law and penal policy, and ends with a plea for society to abandon what the author sees as its irrational belief in free will.' -- Joshua Rozenberg * lawyer and legal commentator, formerly legal editor of The Daily Telegraph *
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