Free Will

Free Will

by Sam Harris
4.0 40

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Overview

Free Will by Sam Harris

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451683479
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 03/06/2012
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 86,903
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the bestselling books The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian NationThe Moral LandscapeFree Will, and LyingThe End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing has been published in over fifteen languages. Dr. Harris is cofounder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. Please visit his website at SamHarris.org.

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Free Will 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Stuff_and_Nonsense More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
PaulBadger More than 1 year ago
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.
pccoder More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
JohnGrove More than 1 year ago
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.
GFio More than 1 year ago
Regardless of your religious beliefs, this is a very good read. He challenges popular beliefs, and really makes you think of how to defend your own beliefs. It is definitely worth the read if you would like to challenge yourself! Harris is a well educated neuroscientist. As a student pursuing neuroscience, I found this book to be delightful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No nonsense presentation of the issue with review of current opinions and relevant research.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We have moved to "Harpela" res one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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PatrickKanouse More than 1 year ago
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.
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