Summary and Info
This was probably the worst VSI I've read (and, given that I love the series, I've read quite a few). It does very little in the way of an introduction to the subject, or even in the way of a lucid exposition. Pink treats the free will problem as a sort of constant problem throughout the ages, paying very little regard to profound historical differences in treatment (excepting, perhaps, his short discussion of the Middle Ages). The lack of the kind of sensitivity needed by a historian of ideas becomes apparent when the author again and again writes off Hobbes's theory as "wrong," in light of what we now know (or Pink now knows) about the subject (or when he talks about "reversing" some intellectual changes occurred since the Middle Ages). Common sense becomes too often the main judge and the sole source of evidence in the author's arguments. From the beginning, Pink frames the terms of the debate, in the way that best suits his purposes, and then purports to resolve the free will problem in a way consistent with freedom. The last section of the book is called "In defence of libertarian freedom." That should be the name of the book, even if the defense the author accomplishes is markedly capricious (frequently omitting, for instance, the names and arguments of his opponents). The book may be useful in a class setting aimed at presenting Pink's "solution" to the free will problem, but as a VSI on the subject it was very unsatisfying.
More About the Author
Thomas Pink is a luxury clothing business started in London in 1984, by three Irish brothers James, Peter and John Mullen.
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