This blog is about free will – including scientific work that bears on free will. And it’s intended for everyone who’s interested in the topic. From January 2010 through December 2013, I directed a $4.4 million project on free will and science, funded by the John Templeton Foundation – the Big Questions in Free Will project. It involved a lot of very smart philosophers and scientists who did – and are continuing to do – a lot of very good scientific and philosophical research and writing. During those four years, I spoke to – and wrote for – general audiences much more often than I used to do, and I became very interested in what non-specialists think about free will.
Quite possibly, I’m more interested in what you think about free will than you are in what philosophers and scientists think about it. Time will tell. This blog is a bit of an experiment. I’m committed to running the experiment – out of my own pocket, I should say – for at least one year.
Here are just a few of the topics I’ll be bringing up in later posts: How are studies in neuroscience supposed to prove that free will doesn’t exist, and do they prove this? What evidence is there that free will does exist? What are the main theories about free will today among professional philosophers?
In March 2014, I gave a lecture on free will and science at the University of Central Florida. The organizers gave away free copies of a recent book of mine written for undergraduates – A Dialogue on Free Will and Science – to the first 50 people who showed up for the lecture, and people started turning up an hour early. The organizers were surprised and extremely pleased by the turnout. We had a standing-room-only crowd in a large auditorium. After a lively Q & A session, I thought it would be great if students had a place to interact with each other on themes discussed in the dialogue, even if they aren’t reading the dialogue themselves. This blog can be a place for that – and it can be a lot more.