Life Without Free Will
Posted: 10 September 2012 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Sam - I hope you’re listening because I am entirely confused, and would appreciate some candid feedback.  I have read The Moral Landscape and the much shorter volume, Free Will…along with many other books, papers and lectures regarding free will and choice. I follow the blog and have just finished reading the post http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/life-without-free-will.

Here’s my issue:
If there is no free will - at all - then there is no “other” influence in any situation, at any juncture or from any mysterious source.  Therefore, every decision or action is either predetermined or at the very least so significantly predisposed to occur that there remains only the slightest possibility of any other technically feasible option taking place.  This leaves no choice in anything.  I am not arguing that this hypothesis is incorrect…in fact I agree with it.  It’s the discrepancies I read that have me confused. 

In particular, I have read time and again that there is an obvious dilemma regarding whether one should or should not share the information that free will doesn’t exist. Under the “there is no free will at all” axiom, what force would affect whether one shares that information or not?  It seems to me that if the proper causes and/or conditions exist, the information will be shared or not shared regardless.  Under this axiom, there is no feasible method of intervention, no “other” source that can be called upon to make the determination whether the information should be shared or not shared.  There is no recourse whatsoever.  There is no way to divert the course of events that is not already in motion.  There is no choice to be made or not made.  There is no choice.

Thanks for listening.

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Posted: 12 September 2012 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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AlekT - 10 September 2012 07:47 AM

Sam - I hope you’re listening because I am entirely confused, and would appreciate some candid feedback.  I have read The Moral Landscape and the much shorter volume, Free Will…along with many other books, papers and lectures regarding free will and choice. I follow the blog and have just finished reading the post http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/life-without-free-will.

Sam too is confused on his free will position. That’s why reading his material is confusing.


You are trying too hard. You think that he is right and that you are just confused and that you’ll work out the confusion and end up on his side once the confusion is cleared up. So you are going into this whole thing assuming the truth (that he’s right).


Instead, I suggest you use your own judgment. Don’t just trust his judgment because he got some prestige and you don’t. Truth can not be judged by prestige.


Consider my post: http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/16894/


Or I could be wrong. We are all fallible beings.

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