Free Will (Summer Repeat)

Released Thursday, 12th September 2019
Good episode? Give it some love!
In the 500th edition of the programme, Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the philosophical idea of free will.

Free will - the extent to which we are free to choose our own actions - is one of the most absorbing philosophical problems, debated by almost every great thinker of the last two thousand years. In a universe apparently governed by physical laws, is it possible for individuals to be responsible for their own actions? Or are our lives simply proceeding along preordained paths? Determinism - the doctrine that every event is the inevitable consequence of what goes before - seems to suggest so.

Many intellectuals have concluded that free will is logically impossible. The philosopher Baruch Spinoza regarded it as a delusion. Albert Einstein wrote: "Human beings, in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free agents but are as causally bound as the stars in their motion." But in the Enlightenment, philosophers including David Hume found ways in which free will and determinism could be reconciled. Recent scientific developments mean that this debate remains as lively today as it was in the ancient world.

With:

Simon Blackburn
Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge

Helen Beebee
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham

Galen Strawson
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading

Producer: Thomas Morris

Creators & Guests

View All
Add Creators
What People Are Saying

This episode hasn't been reviewed yet. You can add a review to show others what you thought.

Rate Episode
Recommend This Episode
Recommendation sent

Join Podchaser to...

  • Rate podcasts and episodes
  • Follow podcasts and creators
  • Create podcast and episode lists
  • & much more
Episode Details
Length
43m 4s
Explicit
No

Episode Tags