Paul Eckert's Reviews > Free Will

Free Will by Sam Harris
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's review
Mar 21, 12

really liked it
Read in March, 2012

I like the direction Sam Harris' books are going. The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation were great books that changed my life, but now his books are more about the way science can answer some of life's biggest questions. The Moral Landscape showed how a scientific morality is plausible, and now Free Will tackles the notion of free will.

Basically it boils down to this: no one is capable of free will in the way that we think. We may make conscious decisions, but we don't know control where the initial thought comes from. We cannot control what we think. Consciousness is only part of the reality of our bodies. Just as we can't make our heart beat, we are not in control over many of the processes in our bodies.

Harris argues these points with logic and rhetoric for the most part. I wish he had included more scientific studies and their implications for free will, though there are several included in the footnotes.

One of the most important parts of the book is when Harris discusses the implications in our society when we recognize that we are no longer truly "free," and also the dangers of this knowledge.

Really great read. Only wish it had been longer.
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03/19/2012 page 40
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Kurt Keefner I think Harris included only a little science in his book because he thinks that part of his case is so obvious. It is not. Harris doesn't consider several factors that suggest that the experiments he cites don't prove what he wants them to prove. He makes bad assumptions and he stacks the deck with his examples of "choice." It's a bad argument. I write about it here: Free Will: A Response to Sam Harris

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