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Are We Free? Psychology and Free Will 1st Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195189636
ISBN-10: 0195189639
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Baer is a Professor of Educational Psychology at Rider University. James Kaufman is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at California State University. Roy Baumeister is Eppes Eminent Professor of Psychology at Florida State University.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195189639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195189636
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.2 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,594,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dale Floody on June 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was thinking recently about the relative shortage of attention in Psychology that's given to freedom and free will (it happens), and decided to explore it more fully (at least I think I decided to explore it). I was delighted to find out about this new book, and wasn't disappointed upon reading it. The 18 contributions in the book represent an intriguing and readable summary of philosophical, evolutionary, genetic, biological, psychological (behavioral), sociological, and anthropological issues with respect to free will. It's apparent (and suggested throughout the book) that many of the debates (which have been going on for a LONG time) about the existence of free will stem from definitional differences, as well as from a tendency to see things in black/white and/or either/or, rather than in shades of gray. As just one example, with respect to violence/aggression and determinism, it is well-established that precursors may include evolution (survival of the fittest), genetics, biology (e.g., testosterone and brain tumors), prenatal experiences, reinforcement and modeling history, parenting, peer influences (e.g., gang membership), automaticity (mindlessness rather than mindfulness), group and cultural influences ( there are peaceful societies where violence and aggression are virtually unheard of). We appear to be pretty determined. On the other hand, studies of intrinsic motivation, achievement motivation, self-efficacy, perceived choice, incremental self-theory, and internal locus of control suggest at least some degree of free will. Perhaps in a sense the determinants of behavior define starting points or limits of potentialities, but conscious choice (or free will) in a specific situation and culture influences ultimate behaviors. Cognition at least facilitates mindfulness.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By W. Cheung on April 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book should be able to answer most if not all the questions you want to ask about the nature of "free will". There are 18 chapters written by many authors - most of them are professors of psychology.

The concept of compatibilism is very well explained - i.e. "free will" (the ability to choose how to intend and/or act) is compatible with determinism. Even though our thinking, intentions, and actions may be "determined" by external stimuli and internal mental states, as long as we are not "coerced" to do something, we are considered to be and are indeed deemed "free".

Lots of data and findings are presented to show that whilst our behaviors can easily be influenced by the external environment, and often subconsciously, we retain a significant degree of "self control" - "free won't". This ability to "resist temptation" forms part of the concept of being "free", even if determinism is true.

The book also shows studies demonstrating that whether we believe in the concept of "free will" or not may influence our own behaviors and outlook of life.

It is impossible for me to summarize fully the whole book, which is well over 300 rather dense pages. All I can say is that if you, like me, are interested in the "free will" debate, then this book is really for you. It's brilliant and all encompassing. One final comment - do not expect a lot on libertarianism in this book: to a lay person, either it is incoherent or too sophisticated to fathom its intricacies.

Five stars.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Edwin A. Locke on January 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
some good points made and some not so good depending on who the author was--Bandura ch. was best, Bargh the worst.
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