Why We Have Too Much Free Will || Ken Sheldon

Today we welcome back Ken Sheldon to the podcast. Ken is a Curator’s Distinguished Professor of Psychological Science at the University of Columbia, Missouri. He has written and edited over 200 academic books, scholarly articles, and book chapters. Among these, some of his most notable work include Optimal Human Being and Self-determination Theory in the Clinic. His latest book is called Freely Determined: What the New Psychology of the Self Teaches Us About How to Live.

In this episode, I talk to Ken Sheldon about free will. Instead of questioning its existence, Ken is concerned with how we might use free will to help us reach our goals. Each person has the capacity to make good and bad choices, and to learn from the past. Although we are unable to know everything about ourselves, we can still make informed decisions. Believing that we have the ability to choose directly affects our well-being and values. We also touch on the topics of neuroscience, self-determination, and responsibility.  

Website: sheldonk.mufaculty.umsystem.edu/home


    • Freely Determined
    • System 1 and System 2 
    • Cybernetic freewill
    • Choices are not predetermined
    • Self-determination theory
    • The feeling of freedom 
    • The evolution of the symbolic self
    • The default mode network in goal setting
    • The “Rewind the tape” argument
    • The problem of too much freedom
    • Determinism is detrimental
    • Living well together 
    • Free will is an adaptation

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