“Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intention emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.
“Free will is actually more than an illusion (or less), in that it cannot be made conceptually coherent. Either our wills are determined by prior causes and we are not responsible for them, or they are the product of chance and we are not responsible for them.“
~ Sam Harris,
Oh, there is the rub. “we are not responsible for them”.
“The belief in free will has given us both the religious conception of “sin” and our commitment to retributive justice. The U.S. Supreme Court has called free will a “universal and persistent” foundation for our system of law, distinct from “a deterministic view of human conduct that is inconsistent with the underlying precepts of our criminal justice system” (U.S. v. Grayson, 1978).
“What does it mean to take responsibility for an action?”
~ Sam Harris
What motivates an individual to harm another?
Some individuals are dangerous, for whatever reason, and present a risk to others. Actions taken, for whatever reason, reveals the kind of person one is. The motivation for action may lie deep within the subconscious mind, and it is the thought that resides in the person that gives meaning to the name.
Ed Lindaman, my mentor, stated “who you are gives meaning to your name”. Meaning comes from the conscious and unconscious mind. We can’t see into the mind of another; the only evidence we have is observable behaviors.
~ Ed Lindaman
"Dispensing the illusion of free will allows us to focus on the things that matter - assessing risk, protecting innocent people, deterring crime, etc.”
~ Sam Harris , Free Will