Sam Harris Still Needs to Read More Philosophy

Posted on February 12, 2014 by

In a scathing review of Sam Harris’ pamphlet Free Will , Daniel Dennett rightfully calls out Harris for some obvious missteps that Harris has taken (once again).  Harris responds here.

Though I am more aligned with incompatibilism these days, Harris again makes some serious missteps in his response. First, he forwards his compatibilist thesis with regards to deontic evaluations and appropriate emotional feelings and both determinism and indeterminism. I have already shown where Harris goes wrong here. He makes further errors in his response to Dennett regarding moral responsibility. But, unlike Dennett and Harris, I have a dissertation to write  so I will have to show the problems with Harris’ argument another time (in the near future). I gave my review of his book here, and hope to respond to his latest tirade sooner than later.

As a quick side note: the position Harris is forwarding sounds eerily similar to the arguments advanced by Derk Pereboom in (1995) and (2001). He says he’s not a hard determinist. He’s right. He his a ‘Hard Incompatibilist’, (he doesn’t seem familiar with the terminology).The term was coined by Pereboom and flushed out in great detail in his 2001 book, nearly 10 years before Harris published his pamphlet.

(Thanks to Pawel for the heads up on the Harris response.)