Free will and the subconscious

Summary: Those who deny free will often reference the subconscious as a counter-argument to free will. How can man have free will if the subconscious continuously feeds him ideas he didn’t choose and over which he has no control? Previous posts have identified the need to edit and select from what the subconscious delivers. But […]

A good article on free will

Summary: Although the majority of intellectuals deny the existence of free will, a few have defended it. These posts have already referred extensively to Ayn Rand’s defense of free will as based on a primary choice to think or not. This post will review the work of a scientist who also provides a vigorous defense […]

Two views of the power of man

Summary: Two views of man’s worth and scope of choice are contrasted. One view holds that nature is immensely powerful and humbles man. The other holds that man, while of course subject to the laws of nature, has the power to reshape nature to valuable ends, achieving results nature could never accomplish. This power of […]

Critique of Sam Harris’ book Free Will – Conclusion – Anti-hierarchy

Summary: Harris repeatedly commits the fallacy of hierarchical inversion, which consists of denying a concept or idea on which one’s own argument rests. This fallacy is committed with respect to concepts such as “science,” and with respect to the very descriptions he provides of the experiments supposedly proving that free will is an illusion.

One […]

Critique of Sam Harris’ book Free Will – Part 2 – Sleepwalking

Summary: Harris mischaracterizes choice – describing it only in terms of the split second the choice is made instead of identifying all the thinking, planning and goal-setting preceding it. This narrow lens on free will is used by Harris to assert that man is essentially sleepwalking, making choices and taking actions for which there is […]

Critique of Sam Harris’ book Free Will – Part 1 – Man as Robot

Summary: The book Free Will, by Sam Harris (2012), rejects the validity of free will and proposes that man is an automaton whose every thought and action is determined by his brain neurology. In this and following posts, the fallacies in his argument will be identified, the most basic of which is an arbitrary assertion […]

Free will and mass terror

Summary: Totalitarian and terrorist movements make a direct, explicit attack on the idea of free will. Read how intimately connected the 9/11 Twin Towers attack and the issue of free will are, even moreso than you might think.

The previous post identified the kinds of mental patterns at the root of destructive and criminal behavior. […]

Free will cannot include willing an emotion to disappear

Recall in the introductory post that willing an emotion to disappear is not included in free will. Why is that, and what is the relation between emotion and free will? Do those who say that an emotion “made” them do something have an argument against free will? In this post, the first of these questions […]

Intellectuals do not believe in free will

If you have been reading the posts presented here, you will have seen that the leading arguments against free will have been sympathetically presented, and answered one by one. You may recall that free will was argued to be so fundamental to any argument, discussion, or train of thought that it cannot be denied without […]

Method trumps everything

The fundamental choice is to focus or not, to think or not, as discussed in prior posts. However, that is not man’s only choice. To succeed in life requires innumerable choices, among them being values, goals (in career and leisure), friends, jobs, a city to live, a neighborhood within it and housing within that (to […]