Start reading Free Will on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

Free Will [Kindle Edition]

Sam Harris
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (367 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $10.99
Kindle Price: $5.89
You Save: $5.10 (46%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

Whispersync for Voice

Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook. Learn more or scan your Kindle library to find matching professional narration for the Kindle books you already own.

Add the professional narration of Free Will for a reduced price of $6.49 after you buy this Kindle book.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $5.89  
Paperback $7.05  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $9.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Kindle Delivers
Kindle Delivers
Subscribe to the Kindle Delivers monthly e-mail to find out about each month's Kindle book deals, new releases, editors' picks and more. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this elegant and provocative book, Sam Harris demonstrates—with great intellectual ferocity and panache—that free will is an inherently flawed and incoherent concept, even in subjective terms. If he is right, the book will radically change the way we view ourselves as human beings."
—V. S. Ramachandran, Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, UCSD, and author of The Tell-Tale Brain

"Brilliant and witty—and never less than incisive—Free Will shows that Sam Harris can say more in 13,000 words than most people do in 100,000."
—Oliver Sacks

"Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it. In Free Will, Sam Harris combines neuroscience and psychology to lay this illusion to rest at last. Like all of Harris’s books, this one will not only unsettle you but make you think deeply. Read it: you have no choice."—Jerry A. Coyne, Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, and author of Why Evolution Is True

"Many say that believing that there is no free will is impossible—or, if possible, will cause nihilism and despair. In this feisty and personal essay, Harris offers himself as an example of a heart made less self-absorbed, and more morally sensitive and creative, because this particular wicked witch is dead."
—Owen Flanagan, Professor of Philosophy, Duke University, and author of The Really Hard Problem

"If you believe in free will, or know someone who does, here is the perfect antidote. In this smart, engaging, and extremely readable little book, Sam Harris argues that free will doesn’t exist, that we’re better off knowing that it doesn’t exist, and that—once we think about it in the right way—we can appreciate from our own experience that it doesn’t exist. This is a delightful discussion by one of the sharpest scholars around.”
—Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology, Yale University, and author of How Pleasure Works

About the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the bestselling books The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will and Lying. The 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.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
232 of 277 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief, cogent, provocative and convincing. March 6, 2012
Format:Paperback
It was a Reformed theologian who disabused me of the concept of free will several years ago, and I've found it a fascinating topic ever since. Sam Harris has produced a brief monograph on the issue that manages to distill the key issues without creating an impenetrable density for the reader to slog through.

For those who think value is found in a dollars-to-words ratio, the thinness and focus of this volume might not seem like a bargain, but I loved having a book with something important to say that I actually READ. I'm not saying that all subject matter must be reduced to tweets, but I know that, for example, as fascinated as I am by the topic of moral improvement that Stephen Pinker covers in The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, I am never going to read more than 600 pages just on that subject. There are simply too many other things I also care about. So Harris has done people like me a real favor by thinking about free will and pulling together the relevant evidence for his position, and expressing his ideas with his trademark wit and clarity in a work that can be digested in an hour or less.

For those who read about free will in other books and publications, there's nothing very new here. In fact, given the choice between recommending this book and something else, depending on the person I was talking with, I might instead suggest Cris Evatt's The Myth of Free Will, Revised & Expanded Edition.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
89 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!! March 6, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Free Will by Sam Harris

"Free Will" is the persuasive essay that makes the compelling case that free will is an illusion. Free will is intuitively understood but a difficult concept to master. Dr. Harris systematically, and with few precise words destroys the notion of the concept of free will. With a degree in philosophy and a doctorate degree in neuroscience and the innate ability to convey difficult concepts to the layperson, Dr. Harris is best suited to enlighten us on such a challenging topic. This 96-page book is composed of the following eight chapters: 1. The Unconscious Origins of the Will, 2. Changing the Subject, 3. Cause and Effect, 4. Choices, Efforts, Intentions, 5. Might the Truth Be Bad for Us?, 6. Moral Responsibility, 7. Politics, and 8. Conclusion.

Positives:
1. Fascinating topic in the hands of a great thinker.
2. Profound without being unintelligible. Elegant and accessible prose.
3. Does a great job of dissecting free will. The author systematically beaks down the concept of free will by attacking it from various angles.
4. More so than his previous great essay "Lying" he makes more use of his scientific background. He relays studies that support his arguments.
5. The illusion of being in control is a concept that Dr. Harris masterfully destroys.
6. The author differentiates voluntary and involuntary actions.
7. Great quotes, "Our sense of free will results from a failure to understand this: We do not know what we intend to do until the intention itself arises".
8. A discussion on the three main philosophical approaches: determinism, libertarianism, and compatibilism.
9. Great examples that help the reader comprehend the challenging concept of free will.
10.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
421 of 546 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sam Harris Misses the Mark in Free Will March 9, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sam Harris Free Will

Sam Harris is a master of the polemic. He has written very eloquently and convincingly concerning atheism in his books, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. Full disclosure: My wife, Mary C. Taylor, and I are atheists and she has a website and video lectures on atheism, as well as being assistant organizer and lecturer of an atheist Meetup. She has contributed signifantly to this essay. Mr. Harris is an important force for secularism in the United States.
But his latest offering, Free Will, a scant 66 page essay in book format (with some 7 pages of notes,) is lacking in many essential ways, particularly in the matter of evidence for his claims. Harris states there is no free will, that it is an illusion, but offers no proof for his assertion. In fact, on Pages 13, 38, 39, and 40, he states that the sources of our intentions, desires, actions, and wants are unknown, a mystery, inscrutable or obscure. He seems to be asserting that because we do not know the sources for our thoughts and actions, it necessarily follows that we do not have free will. Such a flimsy connection is not proof. He cites some well known experiments, such as the Libet, all of which are inconclusive, and does not provide the reader with strong scientific evidence to back up his assertions.
Mr. Harris critiques compatibilism by too often, for such a short essay, emphasizing the differences between himself and Daniel Dennett, the philosopher who has written Elbow Room and Freedom Evolves. In fact, Dennett makes a very cogent case for the compatibilism and coexistence of determinism and free will in human beings. One of Mr.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars mental masturbation jibberish
This was a very difficult book to read. Harris oversimplifies the concept of free will and uses poor examples to attempt to prove his point.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Challenging! A must for everybody
Published 6 days ago by Pierre Casse
4.0 out of 5 stars Contoversial yet thought provoking
This topic is quite controversial yet thought provoking. Some think that free will was given to us by God - the freedom to choose a right or wrong pathway in life; a pathway that... Read more
Published 6 days ago by linda
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes a good reflexion about free will
Makes a good reflexion about free will, however It is actually not explaining you what free will is, he is just taking sides. I think it still worth reading it. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Javier
4.0 out of 5 stars let's stop playing the competitive game.
I love many of the ideas in the book, although I would have liked the book to address more about how an understanding that free will is an illusion can transform human relations.
Published 9 days ago by mike
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Harris' better books
Short and to the point, Harris makes a good argument for his opinion of free will.
I won't spoil the side he takes, but the discussion of the mind's ability to think random... Read more
Published 21 days ago by ReaderOne
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting essay
If I understand his thesis correctly, he is saying that the genesis of our conscious thoughts (and subsequent actions) are largely unknown. Read more
Published 24 days ago by David N Freemon
3.0 out of 5 stars The Virtue of Brevity, but Nothing New
I am curious about free will arguments because of what they inevitably suggest concerning our scientific preconceptions. Sam Harris is a determinist, pure and simple. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Herbert Gintis
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
Just when you think you have things under control Sam Harris comes along. Are we really in control? I will have to think about it.
Published 25 days ago by Stephen
5.0 out of 5 stars Points to ponder
A well planned out journey through the bog we call free will. What we think it means, what it really means.
Published 27 days ago by Gil Weiner
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the bestselling books, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, and Lying. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His latest book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, will be published 9/9/14.

Mr. Harris's writing has been published in more than 15 languages. His work has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, Newsweek, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.

Mr. Harris is a cofounder and the 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 Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?



Forums

Topic From this Discussion
Is Paul a real disciple for Jesus ?
Jesus' resurrection is a myth. His 'message' has been rewritten and translated from so many different languages by so many different authors that is is impossible to know what it ever was. That's not even mentioning the difficulty of understanding the social and historical context of that... Read More
Feb 21, 2012 by C. Lindberg |  See all 5 posts
Have something you'd like to share about this product?
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions


Look for Similar Items by Category