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Free Will by Sam Harris

Free Will (2012)

by Sam Harris

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4551822,893 (3.73)1 / 10



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This is a provocative read about an idea about life that is taken for granted--that seems so natural--though we know (scientifically speaking) it may not be real (not unlike our experience of "watching the sun rise.") Do I have free will? Could I have done things differently, or would something else have to change? If our notions of free will are wrong, what would it change about our lives? Our conceptions of morality? Our justice system?

A quick, clear read with some worthy questions. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
So, it seems that free will may be an illusion, and that's alright. The book did an admirable job of illustrating why this is, and why it doesn't have to be a problem for us. Things are a lot more out of control than we like to admit. It doesn't mean we shouldn't work within our biological limitations to be the best people we can be. It just means that we do have some built in limitations that differ from person to person. Being aware of the factors we can't control may ultimately help us to have more effective control over the things we can. ( )
  heradas | May 31, 2015 |
This book is interesting mainly because it touches upon a sacred cow that most hold dear, not just touches upon but continues to shatter. It may anger some or push others into depression, but I wasn't that shocked by his assertions; it's like he took something I've suspected intuitively and then proves it. If I had to give a pithy synopsis that anyone can understand I would use an apt quote from the book: "A man does what he wills, but does not will what he wills (Arthur Schopenhaur)." The book ends pretty weakly and I felt like many of the chapters could have been expanded, but it's a nice bite size jumping off point for the topic. ( )
  lcalvin83 | May 8, 2015 |
Not for me; not at all.
  V.V.Harding | Apr 21, 2015 |
Depressingly convincing. I have thought of this book pretty much every day since I finished it, mainly when I think of some new horrible crime report. I am not as eloquent as Sam Harris by far, so I cannot really explain effectively why I think Sam Harris is only partially right in his argument that there is no free will. Still, it's good to challenge oneself with these types of reads if only to test preconceived notions that we usually take for granted. This essay just took me to a place of meaninglessness. Everything I value in life is built on the philosophical foundation of free will. Sam Harris sort of turns that foundation into quicksand. He's hard to argue with, which is frustrating. The other frustrating thing is that all the counter arguments to Harris sound lame. I think I'll try to go back to my comfortable illusion of controlling my own thoughts and choices. There is hope in that mirage. ( )
  BenjaminHahn | Apr 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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The question of free will touches nearly everything we care about.
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In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that free will is an illusion but that this truth should not undermine morality or diminish the importance of social and political freedom; indeed, this truth can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life.… (more)

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