A belief in free will touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion.
In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or diminish the importance of social and political freedom, but it can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life.
©2012 Sam Harris (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
"Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it. In Free Will, Sam Harris combines neuroscience and psychology to lay this illusion to rest at last. Like all of Harris’s books, this one will not only unsettle you but make you think deeply. Read it: you have no choice." (Jerry A. Coyne, Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, and author of Why Evolution Is True)
"In this elegant and provocative book, Sam Harris demonstrates—with great intellectual ferocity and panache—that free will is an inherently flawed and incoherent concept, even in subjective terms. If he is right, the book will radically change the way we view ourselves as human beings." (V. S. Ramachandran, Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, UCSD, and author of The Tell-Tale Brain)
"Brilliant and witty—and never less than incisive—Free Will shows that Sam Harris can say more in 13,000 words than most people do in 100,000." (Oliver Sacks)
Of course, but not based on this one.
Not sure. I simply disagree with how he took the book. It amounts to a disagreement on the definition of "free will" which maybe I can't really hold against the book. I was thoroughly disappointed in the depth of his reasoning and the scope of his thought. The book feels like the first 1/3 was leading to something then you are never taken anywhere special. This book should have been 30% the size it is even though its small to begin with.
The part where the woman stands in front of a target with an apple on her head and...
Whenever an author brings up an example of someone else's opinion you have never heard of to contrast with their own, and doesn't successfully defend his point of view against it, one is left feeling let down (in this case Daniel Dennett). Of course free will is nonsensical as we commonly think of it, but instead of stating that directly and moving on, Sam Harris gets stuck in first gear with simply "we don't have free will".
The author raises some interesting questions and proposes a view of free will which places all of the responsibility on blind chance and "luck". While he (Harris) seems to want to replace a traditional understanding of free will he offers nothing in the line of proof against it.
I am a fan of Sam Harris. This was a pleasure to listen too. However, while he does show that there is no 'Free Will' as most understand it to be, he fails eliminate a practical version of it.
ie. We can affect our future thoughts. Even I can predict and therefore edit my future choices - I am the author.
Never stop learning!
This is a must read. To me, it's a beginning of a conversation on free will, not its conclusion. We have yet to learn much about our brains to make any definitive conclusion. But, it is clear we do not control our thoughts or their genesis much like we do not control our digestion. ;)
Detailed exploration into determinism. I disagree but enjoyed it none the less. Sam goes into great detail into the ramifications of not being responsible for anything. This is only possible by decoupling the subconscious from "will". As a neurologist I understand his perspective but I believe not only in a deeper sense of self but I believe this subconscious's will is part of our free will. My only complaint is the brevity v. cost. $10 for just over an hour of content is not pleasing.
I encourage anyone reading this book to take the objective facts and use them to shape their worldview.
I was on the fence before about free will, but now there is no question in my mind. Everyone should read this book.
How anyone can dispute the points Harris makes in this book is beyond me. Really good book about a complex topic. Sam makes many attempts to illustrate the illusion of free will. I think I understood his arguments and can acknowledge the strong possibly that I have no free will, yet it still feels like I make independent choices everyday. This book will be replayed several times and I plan to discuss it with friends. Thanks Dr. Harris. Please continue to do what you do.
"Free Will" left me thinking "of course - I already knew that intuitively"... but did I? I'm now questioning every thought that pops into my head (not really lol). This book is sure to anger the religious and non-religious conservatives for differing, but sometimes overlapping reasons. I loved this book. Probably because I have never felt actually and really in control of my thoughts and now I can say "neither are you!" haha!
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