The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits

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Written by Kent Greenfield

Published by Yale University Press

Oct, 2011

256 pages



Americans are fixated on the idea of choice. Our political theory is based on the consent of the governed. Our legal system is built upon the argument that people freely make choices and bear responsibility for them. And what slogan could better express the heart of our consumer culture than "Have it your way"? In this provocative book, Kent Greenfield poses unsettling questions about the choices we make. What if they are more constrained and limited than we like to think? If we have less free will than we realize, what are the implications for us as individuals and for our society? To uncover the answers, Greenfield taps into scholarship on topics ranging from brain science to economics, political theory to sociology. His discoveries—told through an entertaining array of news events, personal anecdotes, crime stories, and legal decisions—confirm that many factors, conscious and unconscious, limit our free will. Worse, by failing to perceive them we leave ourselves open to manipulation. But Greenfield offers useful suggestions to help us become better decision makers as individuals, and to ensure that in our laws and public policy we acknowledge the complexity of choice.


Title: The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits
Author: Kent Greenfield
Language: English
Length: 256
Edition: 1
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 2011-10-11
ISBN-10: 0300169507
ISBN-13: 9780300169508