Provide a Summary of Harris’ Argument

Listen to this podcast episode of Making Sense, in which philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris presents an argument that free will doesn’t exist [I recommend taking notes and making note of time stamps while you listen, as arguments about free will can be quite complicated].

Provide a summary of Harris’ argument, explaining the reasons and examples he gives to defend his position.

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Respond to his argument. If you think you have free will, how can you defend your position? If you agree with Harris that we do not have free will, explain why you agree with him. Your response must refer specifically to his argument by disagreeing with specific points he makes or by agreeing with specific points he makes. To be specific, rather than saying ‘I think we have free will because…’, your response should be more like ‘Sam Harris says we do not have free will because x; I disagree with this point because y.’

Also, often in this discussion, students make claims such as “I have free will because I make choices” or “I have free will because I can do whatever I want.” But such responses commit the fallacy of begging the question. Essentially, such claims say ‘I have free will because I have free will.’ In your response, try to avoid committing this fallacy.

Make sure to follow the instructions given in Unit 1 in the Discussion Forums: Protocol and Grading Criteria folder for making specific references to texts, videos, and podcasts; posts that do not make references according to these instructions will not receive full credit.

Works Linked/Cited:

“#241 Final Thoughts on Free Will.” Making Sense.12 Mar. 2021, https://samharris.org/podcasts/241-final-thoughts-on-free-will/

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