Sam Harris | You Do Not Choose What You Choose. From the Free Press: 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. 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. Free will. Though it is a commonly held intuition that we have free will, it has been widely debated throughout history not only whether that is true, but even how to define the concept of free will. How exactly must the will be free, what exactly must the will be free from, in order for us to have free will? Historically, the constraint of dominant concern has been determinism of some variety (such as logical, nomological, or theological), so the two most prominent common positions are named incompatibilist or compatibilist for the relation they hold to exist between free will and determinism.
In Western philosophy The underlying issue is: Do we have some control over our actions, and if so, what sort of control, and to what extent? These questions predate the early Greek stoics (for example, Chrysippus), and some modern philosophers lament the lack of progress over all these millennia. Below are the classic arguments bearing upon the dilemma and its underpinnings.  Notes. Determinism. Determinism is the philosophical position that for every event, including human action, there exist conditions that could cause no other event. "There are many determinisms, depending upon what pre-conditions are considered to be determinative of an event. " Deterministic theories throughout the history of philosophy have sprung from diverse and sometimes overlapping motives and considerations. Some forms of determinism can be empirically tested with ideas from physics and the philosophy of physics.
The opposite of determinism is some kind of indeterminism (otherwise called nondeterminism). Determinism is often contrasted with free will. Other debates often concern the scope of determined systems, with some maintaining that the entire universe is a single determinate system and others identifying other more limited determinate systems (or multiverse). Varieties Below appear some of the more common viewpoints meant by, or confused with "determinism". With free will Hard determinism. Hard determinists believe people are like highly complex clocks - in that they are both molecular machines Hard determinism (or metaphysical determinism) is a view on free will which holds that determinism is true, and that it is incompatible with free will, and, therefore, that free will does not exist. Although hard determinism generally refers to nomological determinism, it can also be a position taken with respect to other forms of determinism that necessitate the future in its entirety. Hard determinism is contrasted with soft determinism, which is a compatibilist form of determinism, holding that free will may exist despite determinism. It is also contrasted with metaphysical libertarianism, the other major form of incompatibilism which holds that free will exists and determinism is false.
Overview Unlike “law fundamentalists”, some philosophers are “law pluralists”: they question what it means to have a law of physics. Implications for ethics THE DETERMINISM AND FREEDOM PHILOSOPHY WEBSITE. Do You Believe In Free Will? Maybe You Should, Even If You Don't | Artful Choice. Is free will real, or is just one of our happy illusions? As it turns out, the answer might not matter as much as our belief in the answer does. A recent study showed that, when people’s belief in free will was experimentally reduced, pre-conscious motor preparation, or that activity that precedes action, in the brain was delayed by more than one second relative to those who believed in free will – an eternity in brain time.
Finding free will in the brain For over fifty years, almost all the way up to his death in 2007, Benjamin Libet studied the neural correlates of consciousness. While the philosophical conclusions that have been drawn from his work remain contentious—and some would say highly problematic—he did make some fascinating discoveries about the human brain that have remained central to the study of conscious awareness. First, he observed the existence of something called the readiness potential, or RP, in the brain, up to 550ms prior to the initiation of action. Does free will exist? - Alfred Mele | Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University. We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.
A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. Neuroscience vs philosophy: Taking aim at free will.