Free Will

Free Will

Book - 2012
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In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that free will is an illusion but that this truth should not undermine morality or diminish the importance of social and political freedom; indeed, this truth can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life.
Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2012.
ISBN: 9781451683400
Characteristics: 83 p. ;,21 cm.


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Feb 29, 2020

there is no such thing as free will, and this book is the best argument I know in favor of the statement

May 05, 2017

A well written book making the reader aware of the illusion of the existence of free will. Food for the "everything is genetic " believers, thought provoking for the education and positive social influence advocates.

Aug 25, 2016

Excellent read. I cannot argue with the science. I do know that our mind can influence our decisions, though not the degree we think. Science has demonstrated that much of what happens is already determined by our brain. The point I think Mr. Harris missed is that what our brains determine for us that we may be unaware of-like having water, juice, or beer in the morning. This is more a result of repetition and making those choices constantly...or did I mean to write any of this?

May 31, 2016

I have consistently described Sam Harris as somebody with whom I enjoy disagreeing. I rarely come tot he end of one of his books convinced of his position, but I have nearly always learned many new things, reconsidered my own position and developed a new respect for the opposing position. Harris does all of this here as well, but also does convince me of his central thesis. My only concern is that he has has exposed something that undercuts all of the modern judicial system, which he acknowledges and then largely bypasses. He leaves aside the most interesting implications to his thesis, and I know that Harris doesn't avoid a controversy or a fight so I cannot think why he did it. Nonetheless, this is a short book and well argued and worth the time to read.

AnarchyintheLC Jan 05, 2016

This is a really straightforward (and short) essay about free will. It's a quick read, and Harris is very good at explaining a complex topic so that it's easy to understand. You'll like this if you like recursion (thinking about why you are now thinking about thinking...). Or, as Harris would say: you'll like it or you won't because of a constellation of external and internal factors that are out of your control and that you are often not even aware of. Enjoy!

redban Sep 04, 2014

Philosophy always finds a way to muddle the debates, and perhaps that is the point of engaging in philosophy, but the science in this topic is fascinating. This book is quite short, so it is really just an introduction. Steven Pinker's classic [How the Mind Works] is highly recommended for further explorations.

May 02, 2014

While Harris brings up an interesting and possibly valid hypothesis he failed to ultimately sell me on it. The field of neuroscience is absolutely fascinating and I can't wait till we discover more about the field, but this book didn't particularly interest me.

roaddogg09 Mar 12, 2012

Sam's new book is short and to the point: free will is an illusion. The idea that you are the conscious arbiter of your thoughts, actions, and beliefs is just false. Even though the book is short (less than 70 pages), it covers a lot of ground. I wish Sam had written a full-length book on such an important topic, but even with its shortness, "Free Will" does the job and makes a compelling case.

I'm hoping to see Sam and Daniel Dennett have a conversation on their differing views of free will. Sam's treatment of Dennett's position, compatiblism, were thought-provoking and made me reconsider my own position.

It is doubtful this little book will end the debate, but it will add much to the conversation.

Another book that argues free will is an illusion is Michael Gazzaniga's wonderful book, "Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain"

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