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Free Will

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
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5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A wonderful book that advances the counter-intuitive idea that f

A wonderful book that advances the counter-intuitive idea that free will is an illusion. This book will garner some negative opinions because it contradicts humanity's common sense view that each person is a completely free agent. And nowhere on Earth is this view held ...
A wonderful book that advances the counter-intuitive idea that free will is an illusion. This book will garner some negative opinions because it contradicts humanity's common sense view that each person is a completely free agent. And nowhere on Earth is this view held more sacred than in the United States with its history of rugged individualism and personal responsibility. This makes Sam Harris' *Free Will* all the more important.

At less than 100 pages it seems a bit silly to refer to *Free Will* as an enormously important read, but it wouldn't be silly in the slightest to say so. *Free Will* explains why we think we have free will and why that conception of our agency is wrong. I can think of nothing more central to the way we live our lives than this mistaken belief. Fortunately, changing our understanding of free will wouldn't change the way we live our lives except in important subtle ways, and Harris explains this in his book as well.

I would also recommended reading Malcolm Gladwell's *Outliers*, which brings Harris' argument to life with deftly told stories that amuse as much as they inform.

posted by Stuff_and_Nonsense on March 25, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Rather Disappointing

This long essay would have benefitted greatly has Harris actually defined the common sense notion of free will that he was trying to take apart. Instead he seemed to be continually beating the same straw dog with the same stick.

I also find his argument, though cohere...
This long essay would have benefitted greatly has Harris actually defined the common sense notion of free will that he was trying to take apart. Instead he seemed to be continually beating the same straw dog with the same stick.

I also find his argument, though coherent, unconvincing and inadequate. This is disappointing considering that the "common sense" and publically held notions of free will clearly need to be abandoned.

posted by 5577258 on March 19, 2012

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  • Posted March 25, 2012

    A wonderful book that advances the counter-intuitive idea that f

    A wonderful book that advances the counter-intuitive idea that free will is an illusion. This book will garner some negative opinions because it contradicts humanity's common sense view that each person is a completely free agent. And nowhere on Earth is this view held more sacred than in the United States with its history of rugged individualism and personal responsibility. This makes Sam Harris' *Free Will* all the more important.

    At less than 100 pages it seems a bit silly to refer to *Free Will* as an enormously important read, but it wouldn't be silly in the slightest to say so. *Free Will* explains why we think we have free will and why that conception of our agency is wrong. I can think of nothing more central to the way we live our lives than this mistaken belief. Fortunately, changing our understanding of free will wouldn't change the way we live our lives except in important subtle ways, and Harris explains this in his book as well.

    I would also recommended reading Malcolm Gladwell's *Outliers*, which brings Harris' argument to life with deftly told stories that amuse as much as they inform.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    Will not purchase

    Sample consisted of review • was not what I was expecting • A good indication this book is not a good purchase • Oh by the way, I am doing this on my own free will *

    2 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Rather Disappointing

    This long essay would have benefitted greatly has Harris actually defined the common sense notion of free will that he was trying to take apart. Instead he seemed to be continually beating the same straw dog with the same stick.

    I also find his argument, though coherent, unconvincing and inadequate. This is disappointing considering that the "common sense" and publically held notions of free will clearly need to be abandoned.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Know This Book

    Definitely worth reading and understanding, this short book must be seriously considered in the arguments for and against free will. The book's main failure is that it assumes cause-and-effect exists, despite Hume's devastating critique of determinism--a fact philosopher Harris must be aware of, but nonetheless ignores.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    Excellent short examination of the topic of free will and how it

    Excellent short examination of the topic of free will and how it is an illusion. If this is true as Harris argues then this will certainly give new meaning to what it means to be born lucky. Not only that but it gives an interesting perspective of those who commit hideous crimes which boils down to not hating them, but certainly prosecuting and incarcerating them since they should be removed from hurting anybody else. I suppose viewed in this light can probably bring quicker healing to those victimized families knowing that those who have hurt us or our families really had no free will on their own but we just born unlucky.

    The whole philosophy Sam is advocating can be boiled down to "You can do what you will, but you can't will what you want". He also provides a rebuttal toward compatibilists like Daniel Dennett.

    Makes you look at things differently and gives you a new appreciation to life.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Sam Harris is nothing if not interesting. He is someone whose id

    Sam Harris is nothing if not interesting. He is someone whose ideas I can disagree with substantially, but I still hunt out his thoughts, I still read his writings. Free Will is a brief book about a complex subject. The thesis it seeks to prove is that free will is an illusion. The book is short and clearly written, so I do not want to get into a lot of detail here. Suffice it to say, Harris claims that we cannot know why we choose to watch something, why you are reading this now, etc. That if we took the time to really reflect on our experience, our thoughts, we would not be able to answer the question: Why am I reading this blog right now? At least not without a constructed narrative in hindsight. All our decisions, all our choices, all the reasons we choose why we choose something remain impenetrable to a final answer. Genetics. The fortune or misfortune of where, how, and to whom I was born. And so on. How is one free to choose if we cannot know why we choose and why there is good scientific evidence to indicate that our choices are acted upon prior to our knowledge of that choice.

    I'm not sure I buy Harris's argument, but I have not yet formulated a potential reason why. Regardless, it is worth reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Challenging and worth reading

    The idea that free will is an illusion we tell ourselves needs to be understood, and Dr. Harris illustrates it nicely. Do take the time to read this quick and interesting book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2013

    Not his best, but compelling

    I love Sam Harris. He pulls no punches when it comes to how he feels.

    In this book however; he falls short of convincing me that I have no free will. His arguments are sound; although perhaps I am simply too bull headed to accept that I do not make choices of my own.

    You'd really need to read the book to understand why he insists free will is an illusion; and I truly can see his point. But, the bottom line is that it's simply his opinion and doesn't really have any substantial facts to back up his thesis.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    I am writing this review of my own free will

    I am writing this review of my own free will

    1 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Excellent Book

    Harris says more in 40 pages than most can hope to accomplish in 200. Like it or not Harris presents a strong agument that is difficult to answer sufficiently. At the very minimum, agree with the conclusion or not (and most that don't will do so based on an emotional response rather than from a valid counter argument), this is food for thought that needs to be digested prior to having any discussion on free will, and at 40 pages there is no excuse to ignore it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2014

    NICK TO ALL

    We have moved to "Harpela" res one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2014

    A 18 yo red headed girl

    Comes in weilding 2 swords, blood and gore covering her clothes. Her hair is in brambles and her skin covered in mud. In her waistband of her jeans she carries a gun and on her back a bow and arrows. A backpack is slung on her shoulder and in her boots their is a bulge where her dagger is.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2014

    Caleb

    If you havent chosen go to res 2 and join us we could use it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2014

    Ahh zombies!!

    Aahhhhhhhhh zombies ae chasng me hhheeelllppp!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2014

    The Doomsday RP: Briefing, Map, and Rules

    BRIEFING: <br>
    Welcome to post-apocalyptic New York City. Just ten monthes after the world went all to he<_>ll, a distress signal came through radios throughout the states. Survivors flocked to NYC to help, but only one survivor was still alive, and barely. His name was Jordan, and he is well prepared to survive. You decide to stay with him. He explains that just a year earlier, the world had gone insane. The dead rose from the graves, massive earthquakes and deadly storms rocked the world governments turned on their people, and once-admirable civilizations were left to rot. Not too long ago, Jordan had gotten into a fight with an old friend of his, who left the group and was living in seclusion somewhere in the city. Now that you know what your choices are, you have a decision to make. Do you stay with Jordan, find his old ally and partner up with him, or take your chance as a loner in the city? <br>
    <br>
    MAP: <br>
    Res 1: You are here <br>
    Res 2: Jordan's base <br>
    Res 3: post-apocalyptic NYC <br>
    Res 4: Rebels' camp <br>
    Res 5: Bios <br>
    <br>
    RULES: <br>
    R1: No godmodding, no powers, no unfair abilities <br>
    R2: No attention-whoring <br>
    R3: Respect authority <br>
    R4: Be helpful. No work, no food <br>
    R5: Don't spy on the other camp <br>
    R6: Don't fight with allies <br>
    R7: Don't start something you can't finish <br>
    R8: Be at least semi-active <br>
    R9: Announce who you're allied to and stick with them

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    Brilliant and Engrossing

    I love the length of this book, the concise nature of the hypothesis, and the inevitable conclusion tha follows.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Surely, Mr. Harris would agree, based on the illusion of a merit

    Surely, Mr. Harris would agree, based on the illusion of a merit-based-system, that it is entirely unfair that he possesses a mind and a 
    soul, which he didn't create, that enables him to write and publish books for remuneration. I request that he send all of the reviewers of
    his books a fair portion of his earnings and wealth.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    The sample for this book ends with the dedication page ("fo

    The sample for this book ends with the dedication page (&quot;for Hitch&quot;). Without a little more to go on, I think I'll read Hume instead.

    (This happens a lot with Nook samples... When will you guys monitor samples for substance?)

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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