From the New York Times bestselling author of The End of Faith, a thought-provoking, "brilliant and witty" (Oliver Sacks) look at the notion of free will—and the implications that it is an illusion.
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.
So close...yet so far away...
Mr. Harris, you need to pick up John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards some time. The biggest problem I see with your argument is that there is no conclusion... One main premise, we exist in a predetermined reality that pushes us through life, right down to the mundane choices of which type of cheese I end up with on my predetermined type of sandwich... Therefore??? I don't know if you realize this but atheism makes absolutely no sense in this reality. Your argument, apparently unknowingly to you, presupposes a determiner...I.e. higher power/motivating force. Given the reality that I experience, beautiful sights, feelings, pleasurable experiences, love, as well as tragedy...this deterministic agent has to be one that possesses intelligence and knows these feelings and experiences intimately... I know you will obviously disagree. My aim is not to change you're mind...my aim is simply to thank you for inadvertently supporting Christianity as Jesus taught it...
I've never written a book review before. Why am I doing it now, when I've never cared to review anything before?
I probably didn't have a choice.
An okay guide to no free will
I have been arguing against free will for years now and have participated in many debates on the subject. When I heard Sam was releasing a book on the subject arguing against us having free will I was excited. Well, the book is just okay, not exceptional. Sam goes over some common topics that have to do with free will and why we don't have it but never goes in depth enough. It is a good but short beginners guide to why we don't have free will. People new to the subject might find it refreshing. But vet free will deniers like myself will find it lacking in detail and thoroughness.
I think a thorough breakdown of "self" should have been examined to show how "I" am a product of the environment. Self must be defined and understood to understand why we don't have free will.
While there is a chapter on cause and effect, the causality topic should have been a bigger part of this book to better demonstrate how deterministic nature is and how it makes it possible for us to make any meaningful predictions at all. If this was thoroughly examined it would show how there is no room for free will in our universe governed by the laws of physics and causality. Direct and indirect chain of events should have been examined.
There are many other topics to cover that I will keep to myself for now and just release in my own book. There are few books on no free will, so I appreciate this effort and it will be an ok introduction to some people.