This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

You do not choose what you choose

Many readers continue to find my position on free will bewildering. Most of the criticism I’ve received consists of some combination of the following claims:

  1. Your account assumes that mental events are, at bottom, physical events. But if the mind is distinct from the brain (to any degree), this would allow for freedom of will.

  2. You admit that mental events—like choices, efforts, intentions, reasoning, etc—cause certain of our actions. But such mental states presuppose free will for their very existence. Your position is self-contradictory: Either we are free to think and behave as we will, or there is no such thing as choice, effort, intention, reasoning, etc.

  3. Even if my thoughts and actions are the product of unconscious causes, they are still my thoughts and actions. Anything that my brain does or chooses, whether consciously or not, is something that I have done or chosen. The fact that I cannot always be subjectively aware of the causes of my actions does not negate free will.

read on



Islam, racists, and legitimate debate

Russell Blackford - Talking Philosophy Comments

Islam, racists, and legitimate debate

It's What Moral Philosophers Do

Richard Dawkins - Comments

It's What Moral Philosophers Do

Anything But Human

Richard Polt - The New York Times Comments

In this philosopher, we have the non-scientific mind -- actually in his case the anti-scientific mind -- displayed in all its lack of glory. He misses one important point after another. He seems to go out of his way to achieve a clean sweep of scientific ideas to misunderstand. If a philosopher is determined to remain ignorant of science and wantonly to misread science so comprehensively, what on earth is the point of him and his philosophy? Very depressing.

$5 Million Grant Awarded by Private...

Bettye Miller - UCR Today Comments

The John Templeton Foundation grant to UC Riverside philosopher John Fischer will fund research on aspects of immortality, including near-death experiences and the impact of belief in an afterlife on human behavior

The Consolation of Philosophy

Lawrence M. Krauss - Scientific... 72 Comments

An update by the author of "A Universe from Nothing" on his thoughts, as a theoretical physicist, about the value of the discipline of philosophy

Interview with Peter Boghossian

Paul Pardi - philosophynews 10 Comments

Interview with Peter Boghossian



Free Will

Sam Harris - Free Press 253 Comments

Release date March 6, 2012

Life Without God: An Interview with Tim...

Sam Harris - 14 Comments

Tim Prowse was a United Methodist pastor for almost 20 years and left his faith and career in 2011.

Your God is My God What Mitt Romney...

Sam Harris - The Blog 5 Comments

Your God is My God What Mitt Romney Could Say to Win the Republican Nomination

Everything and Nothing - An Interview...

Sam Harris - The Sam Harris Blog 23 Comments

Everything and Nothing - An Interview with Lawrence Krauss


Sam Harris - Amazon - Kindle edition 120 Comments

September 11, 2011

Sam Harris - 142 Comments

What defenders of religion cannot say is that anyone has ever gone berserk, or that a society ever failed, because people became too reasonable, intellectually honest, or unwilling to be duped by the dogmatism of their neighbors.



Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment