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Man choosing between two roads

Why Sam Harris Is Wrong about Free Will

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer and Onkar Ghate discuss Sam Harris’s argument against the existence of free will.

Among the topics covered:

  • Harris’s Humean argument equating causality with causation by prior events;
  • Why free will doesn’t mean self-creation out of nothing;
  • Harris’s argument for why we have no introspective experience of free will;
  • How Harris’s thought experiment involves superficial attention to our experience of freedom;
  • Why Harris can’t explain why his argument isn’t self-refuting;
  • Rand’s view of why man is a being of self-made soul;
  • Whether individuals with certain psychiatric conditions have volition;
  • The issue of soft determinism (compatibilism).

Mentioned in the discussion are the “free will” entry in the Ayn Rand Lexicon, Onkar Ghate’s talk “Seize the Reins of Your Mind” and Ben Bayer’s article “Why Champions of Science and Reason Need Free Will.”

This podcast was recorded on April 15, 2021. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Agustina Vergara Cid

Agustina Vergara Cid, LLB and LLM, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and an opinion columnist at the Orange County Register.

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