Robin Morris's Reviews > Free Will

Free Will by Sam Harris
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Apr 19, 12

bookshelves: philosophy
Read in April, 2012

The author immediately takes the side that there is not “free will”, he states his case in a very adamant way perhaps intentionally trying to shock those that believe in an independent free ‘soul’. The author has a very limited definition of what it means to have free will, requiring the ability to create action without any influence from prior events or background conditions, i.e. to create something out of nothing.

Obviously this definition of free will would cause anyone who thinks about it much to agree that this does not exist. We are not isolated little gods that are immune from cause and effect. And yet the author himself admits a “mysterious” process where thoughts “appear” with the cause at least unknowable, if not without cause. I would suggest that whole idea of free will (as defined by the author) only applies if you view humans as independent beings (i.e. having a unchanging ‘soul’ unconnected to nature or events).

When humans are view as a process, as part of a continuum, the idea of the “self” changes radically and free will becomes a creativity that does in fact just “appear” seemingly from nothing. The idea of cause and effect being only relevant in timeline (which our human view is captured in). When time is not a factor, things can ‘appear’ without cause; as in the cause with quantum mechanics or the Big Bang “beginning” of the universe.

Regardless of your current views, the book is well worth the read. Perhaps even especially if you disagree with the author - challenging your own ideas is always worth the aggravation.

On Amazon at; http://ow.ly/anK6e
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kurt Keefner Harris' book certainly made me think. I thought so much I wrote a reply to it, in which I point out his assumptions and unfair examples. Free Will: A Response to Sam Harris


Robin Morris Interesting - I will read your essay.

Kurt wrote: "Harris' book certainly made me think. I thought so much I wrote a reply to it, in which I point out his assumptions and unfair examples. Free Will: A Response to Sam Harris"


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