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)
Perhaps Sam is preaching to the choir a bit here, but it's a d@mn good sermon. This book effectively ended any debate left in my mind about the existence of free-will. I cannot stop thinking about the causes of other's, and my own, actions, and just how backward our punitive system is in the U.S.. Sam argues that accepting the non-existence of free-will can actually make you more forgiving, more productive, and happier (and, ironically, a bit more free). As usual, Harris has devoured a topic full of disagreement and significance and provided an entertaining and consciousness-raising thesis destined to warp your mind. Enjoy.
Much of the authors conclusion simply boils down to science can't measure free will therefore it doesn't exist.
As someone who has studied science the scientific perspective would be science has no way to measure free will therefore it is not a question for science.
This is the case against free will. You may or may not agree with it, but it's the best argument the position against has to offer. Sam Harris is unquestionably the best narrator of his work. This isn't always true in my experience, sometimes an excellent narrator can bring a work to life in an audio book in a way the writer cannot. However, as a public speaker and a writer, Harris' narration is the natural companion to his writing.
Argument is based on the assumption that there can be no given our unknown sources of the ideas in our minds at the time of choosing. As Libet himself points out,while a source may not be in our control, we can and do edit our impulses and inclinations. For him, his research does not imply lack of free will and he says as much. See Benjamin Libet, "Do We Have Free Will? (Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, No. 8–9, 1999, pp. 47–57).
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