Do people have free will? How is the belief in free will harmful to society? After 40 years of study, neurologist Robert Sapolsky says there is no free will. He lays out what a world that doesn’t believe in free will would look like, and how it would impact the criminal justice system. Here are the arguments for and against free will, and why Sapolsky thinks believing in free will is harmful.
What’s effective altruism? Why did Sam Bankman-Fried adopt this philosophy? According to biographer Michael Lewis, Sam Bankman-Fried’s effective altruism is rooted in another philosophy that he learned from his parents. Lewis writes about Bankman-Fried’s adoption of this concept and its particular path of “earning to give.” Keep reading to learn about Sam Bankman-Fried’s effective altruism beliefs and practices.
Why does Sam Harris think we should reject the concept of free will? How does he think we operate instead? In Free Will, Sam Harris defines free will and argues that it’s an illusion. He explains why it matters whether we have free will and outlines the ways in which he thinks we can let go of free will without losing our sense of self. Continue reading for an overview of this book that might have you rethinking everything.
What is libertarian free will? What part of the view does Sam Harris disagree with? Libertarian free will describes a philosophy that contends that external factors affect but don’t determine our actions. In his book Free Will, Sam Harris explains the concept and discusses how he thinks the theory is right in one respect and wrong in another. Keep reading to learn about libertarian free will.
What’s determinism? Why does Sam Harris adopt this philosophy? Does it necessarily imply fatalism? According to Sam Harris, determinism is the way the world works: We don’t (and can’t) have free will. Like other determinists, he believes that what we feel about our agency misleads us; what we experience when we’re thinking about a decision doesn’t indicate the true causes of our thoughts and actions. Read more for Harris’s explanation of the determinist perspective in the debate over free will.
Do external factors determine our choices and behaviors? Or, do we operate freely? Compatibilists say “Yes.” Compatibilist free will describes the belief that both external factors and free will cause our behavior. Compatibilists bring together the ideas of determinists and libertarians, contending that we’re dealing with an “and” rather than an “or” when it comes to the way our will works. Continue reading to get an explanation (and an argument) from Sam Harris on the matter.
Do we have free will? What are the various views and arguments entailed in the debate? Philosophers continue to wrestle with the issue of free will, discussing what it is and whether or not human beings have it. Sam Harris explains that three points of view have emerged: determinism, libertarianism, and compatibilism. Read more to learn about these three schools of thought regarding free will in philosophy and to get Harris’s take on them.
Whenever you eat ice cream, is it simply because you choose to? Or, is it the result of a complex series of physical processes beyond your control? Is free will an illusion? Sam Harris writes that we believe in free will, not because it makes logical sense, but because it squares with our intuitions and feelings. He contends that our gut is wrong and that free agency doesn’t actually exist. Read more to understand why Harris believes that free will is an illusion.
Should justice be punitive or restorative? Are people really to blame for the criminal choices they make? Sam Harris contends that free will is an illusion; our thoughts, desires, intentions, and choices are determined by events outside our control. Of course, this view impacts the way we regard the choices people make, even when those choices are criminal in nature. Continue reading to understand Sam Harris’s perspective on free will in criminology and the three steps he thinks we should take to treat people more fairly.
If free will is an illusion, are we responsible for our behaviors? Can we just blame external factors for our misdeeds? Many argue that, if we throw free will out the window, moral responsibility goes with it. Sam Harris rejects free will as a reality and asks us to consider moral responsibility in that context. And, he contends that embracing the illusory nature of free will actually helps us think and act in more ethical ways. Read on to understand Harris’s intriguing view of free will and moral responsibility.