At this point I have read three books and done some online article research on the topic. The first book I read was titled Free Will by Sam Harris. It was the first book I tackled purely because it was the only one readily available at my local bookstore, and I had to wait for the other books to come in from an online order. While this book only briefly goes into the psychological studies I have set out to focus this project around, I still felt it was an important read because it worked to define free will and deeply explored the potential implications a lack of free will would have on life as we know it. My favorite quote to sum up Harris’ view of free will was as follows: “You can do what you decide to do – but you cannot decide what you will decide to do” (38). This is my favorite quote first of all because I think the phrasing simplifies the whole view in an amusing manner, but also because it addresses what to me seems to be one of the most confusing aspects of his (and my) belief in a lack of free will. Many people would like to argue that as long as I can choose what I would like to do, then I have free will. However, you need to then ask the question WHY would you like to do that? And the answer why you would like to do that is what he (and I) believe you lack control over. I may have decided to come to William and Mary and I have done just that, but why I decided to come to William and Mary was the result of an infinite number of biological and environmental factors that I had no control over all coming together in precisely the right way to cause me to decide to go to William and Mary.
July 17, 2015 by