While a deterministic universe, at face value, seems to preclude free will, J. T. Ismael's incredibly accessible and highly engaging book explains an understanding of the underlying physical structure of the world that supports a compatibilist view. Ismael's goal in writing this book is “to look at the world through the lenses of science and break down the idea that the world as conceived by physics is inhospitable to human freedom” (135). Ismael defends a level of freedom that is “practical, on the ground, thumb-your-nose-at-anyone-that-tries-to-predict-your-behavior ability” (175). Her book presents a compelling understanding of the underlying physics that makes the idea that free will cannot exist in a deterministic universe seem much less appealing and apparent.

Ismael takes a primary obstacle to accepting a compatibilist view of free will to be a tendency to take concepts that belong to higher-order structures and project those...

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