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Sam Harris on the concept of free will

If you closely examine the thoughts that appear in your mind, you’ll realize that you have no more control over what you’re going to think next, than you do over which words will appear at the end of this article.

The question of free will touches nearly everything we care about. Morality, law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, feelings of guilt and personal accomplishment—most of what is distinctly human about our lives seems to depend upon our viewing one another as autonomous persons, capable of free choice.

Our conscious thoughts and actions all have unconscious origins and prior causes, as demonstrated by experiments where scientists monitoring a person’s brain activity can see which choices they make before the subject is consciously aware that they’ve made the choice.

Even if you attribute some degree of randomness to physical and unconscious events, that still doesn’t give you Free Will.

In fact, in this video Sam Harris makes the argument that it’s impossible to even describe what a universe in which Free Will exists, would look like.

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