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Do your genes determine your entire life?

The idea that unconscious biological forces drive our beliefs and actions would seem to pose a real threat to our free will. We like to think that we make choices on the basis of our own conscious deliberations. But isn’t all that thinking things over irrelevant if our final decision was already written in our genetic code? And doesn’t the whole edifice of personal responsibility collapse if we accept that “my genes made me do it”?

News and Events

  • OXFORD LITERARY FESTIVAL – 25 MARCH. Two events at this year's festival. At 1:15 there is a short 15-minute talk on my Very Short Introduction to Atheism. The main event is then at 4pm when I talk about my new book Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will. #
  • DO WE REALLY HAVE FREE WILL? – LONDON, 24 MARCH. Do we have free will? In his latest book, Freedom Regained, renowned philosopher Julian Baggini explores the concept of free will from every angle, alongside the leading neuroscientist Steven Rose and Radio 4's All In The Mind presenter Claudia Hammond. Barbican Open Salon at 19:30. Full details here. #
  • WELLCOME COLLECTION – LONDON, 12 MARCH. What counts as ‘evidence’ in a courtroom? Do forensic scientists, lawyers and the public all have the same understanding of truth and reasonable doubt? Does our notion of ‘evidence’ change over time? Join us for a conversation on how objects, witnesses and science fit into the legal process. Speakers: Angela Gallop, forensic scientist, Forensic Access; John Burgess, His Honour Judge and Honorary Recorder of Derby; Ian Burney, historian of medicine, University of Manchester. Facilitator: Julian Baggini, writer and philosopher. Full details here. (NB Fully Booked) #
  • UNIVERSITY SERMON – OXFORD, 22 FEBRUARY. As an atheist, I am especially honoured to give this sermon at St Mary's during the 10:30 service. #
  • AUDIO/VIDEO OF DISCUSSION ON SUFFERING. "Christian thinker Vince Vitale and atheist thinker Julian Baggini debate suffering with Justin Brierley." On Premier Christian Radio's Unbelievable. Video here,  radio only here. #

What is Microphilosophy?

Small thoughts about big subjects; big thoughts about small things; seeds of thought, scatttered to either take root or not; plus short links to longer work. Microphilosophy is the website of the writer Julian Baggini.

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