He has finally produced a review of my book Free Will that is nearly as long as the book itself. I am grateful to Dan for taking the time to engage.
Brain scans reveal that 'we are not the authors of our thoughts and actions in the way people generally suppose'. Photograph: Alamy...
Opinions free will going fastIf you find my essays, interviews, or podcasts useful, please consider becoming a sponsor of the website. Would we get to choose our body? People feel that they are the authors of their thoughts and actions, and this is the only reason why there seems to be a problem of free will worth talking about. Books on the brain are something I generally gravitated towards which is why I picked up Free Will. But here again Harris is taking an everyday, folk notion of authorship and inflating it into metaphysical nonsense. Upon reflection, I may have difficulty describing just how, but the feeling is real and drives many intuitions about moral responsibility and human action. Many of the ideas are challenging and he does a good job of articulating what is as stake. Because he is so intent on bashing a caricature doctrine.
The moon is providing enough light that I probably could find the book and head back to bed. Despite his presentation of what a counterfactual situation involving free acts would look like, it seems clear he thinks such a counterfactual situation is not coherent. First he explains the inability to control your will by saying this: "You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. When sunlight bouncing off a ripe apple causes me to decide to reach up and pick it off the tree, I am not being controlled by that master puppeteer, Captain Worldaroundme. He blandly concedes we will—and should—go on holding some people responsible but then neglects to say what that involves. Harris ignores the reflexive, repetitive nature of thinking, opinions free will. And what it has to say is so very important. They are real phenomena that can mislead the naive.
Free Will - Frankie Schiffer, Richie Young, and Jacob Weinstein
Opinions free will - - travel
I was extremely disappointed. Another mistake he falls for—in very good company—is the mistake the great J. That is, there are only brain states and what we call mental states should be eliminated.