Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Free Will Paperback – March 6, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"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."
"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.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I assert that anyone who reads his material with an open mind will find sound logic and valuable insights that warrant, and inspire, a rethinking of our views on, and context within, humanity. In my opinion, this concept of 'no free will' represents a profound revolution; a foundation of a new morality that will finally be rational, rather than emotive.
A good read. Well worth the time, and more.
Sam Harris' book is devoted to demonstrating this definition is contrary to fact. He provides many examples to show that what we decide is affected by factors we are unaware of. He points out we are programmed by influences ranging from genes to our upbringing, and this programming affects our decisions. He points out that who we are today is not the same as yesterday for reasons that maybe nobody can determine, so our decisions today are not those we would make at another time.
So we may conclude that the definition of Free Will above exaggerates our competence in decision making. "Free Will" is one of those terms that needs to be dumped in favor of a more realistic terminology.
Sam Harris says: "There is no question that human beings can imagine and plan for the future, weigh competing desires, etc. - and that losing these capacities would greatly diminish us." "However, these phenomena have nothing to do with free will." He goes on through a personal example to suggest that the ability to be rational and formulate matters doesn't mean you have the capacity to put the plan into action. Nonetheless, Sam Harris says, you can choose to do something: "Of course you can create a framework in which certain decisions are more likely than others - you can, for instance, purge your house of all sweets, making it very unlikely that you will eat dessert later in the evening - but you cannot know why you were able to submit to such a framework today when you weren't yesterday."
So, Sam Harris seemingly believes that understanding our limitations can lead to better actions, which makes the reading of this book at least potentially useful. Apparently we have the freedom to analyze our situation, and somehow that analysis can change our programming, so our uncontrollable moment-by-moment responses become more in keeping with who we want to be, although not actually under our immediate control. If we can't make this analysis and adjust our programming ourselves, society can do it for us and (for example) whack us into an AA program where we will be reprogrammed.
Sam Harris suggests that: "You can do what you decide to do - but you cannot decide what you will decide to do." "My choices matter - and there are paths toward making wiser ones - but I cannot choose what I choose."
These statements need semantic clean-up to make some sense.
There are some unconnected dots here, and Sam Harris dumps it in the reader's lap. Basically, framing the matter as free will (complete autonomy) versus no freedom at all is a false dichotomy, that is, a pretense that there are only two alternatives, when something in between is more accurate. What Sam Harris does here is to point out this fallacy, and outline our limitations.
But unfortunately he doesn't examine what freedom we do have with any clarity.
Still, the book does contain many great gems. Here are just a couple of examples:
"Human choice, therefore, is as important as fanciers of free will believe. But the next choice you make will come out of the darkness of prior causes that you, the conscious witness of your experience, did not bring into being."
"You can do what you decide to do--but you cannot decide what you decide to do."
Over all, I think Sam Harris's `Free Will' is worth the read. Even though it could have been shorter, it is still pretty short and won't take up too much of your time. But it will consume your thoughts and get you thinking about your thinking.
-Staks Rosch [...]
accessable to a broad range of readers.