‘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 New York Times bestsellers 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

'This fascinating book explains and discusses one of the most difficult questions underlying criminal liability – are we right to work on the basis that all sane people can exercise ‘free will’? Richard Oerton explores the free will v. determinism debate with remarkable and rare clarity. This is not a book only for academics: it is of vital interest to all who want to think about the way society is organised.” – Dr. Stephen Cretney, D.C.L., F.B.A., Q.C., LL.D., Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford

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Published: 01/10/2012
ISBN: 9781780882871
eISBN: 9781780887449
Format: Paperback/eBook


About the Author



Richard Oerton was born in Devon in 1936. He was admitted a Solicitor in 1959 and got married the same year. He worked in private practice, in legal publishing, at the Law Commision and briefly in t... read more

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The Nonsense of Free Will
Facing up to a false belief
by Richard Oerton

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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Young Lawyer

The Howard Journal

Howard League for Penal Reform

Naturalism.org

“… a brilliant achievement and a triumphant piece of scholarly writing”

“I … was truly taken aback by the clarity and simplicity with which Oerton approaches this cloudy subject … a fantastic writer and a straight communicator”

“… shows that no great intellect is needed to dispel free will … most people will gain a tremendous amount of insight from reading this book”

“If you are looking for an easy to read yet powerful explanation of the determinism v. free will contest then I strongly recommend this book”

“… presents clear, precise arguments that are well structured and persuasive … should leave you wondering why you believed in free will in the first place and with a whole new perspective on life”

“I absolutely loved [this] book”

by Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com


“This is a terrific book … so clear and readable that it would be appropriate for general readers, introductory philosophy courses, and undergraduate courses in criminal justice and the humanities”

by Professor Richard Double


“Oerton has written a terrific book, a must read for anyone interested in the free will debate and why it matters. He reaches all the right conclusions, for the right reasons, stated most felicitously … a delightful read – unassuming, straightforward, informed and funny”

by Dr. Tom Clark


"An easy to read and understand, fun and well written argument for the nonsense of free will"

" ... a fantastic addition to the growing literature about how we interpret a world without free will ... Since it is free of excessive philosophy jargon the text is very accessible for those new to the topic and still rich and rewarding for those more familiar. A 'must read' ..."

"Highly recommended"

"Wonderfully written and - to my mind - totally persuasive"

by by Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com


 

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