Below is a 9-minute video that encapsulates Sam Harris' views about free will.
Which, in short, is that it is an illusion. And that the world would be better off if people recognized this, rather than wrongly believing that humans are able to freely choose what to do at any given moment.
The background music in the video is a bit distracting. But Harris' message is so convincing, and the video is so well done (aside, perhaps, from the music selection), I urge you to watch it.
Now, I realize that some people don't look upon free will in the way that Harris does.
Harris, like me, considers that free will means just that: we are free to will what we want to do. This is how the legal system looks upon free will. It also is how virtually everybody who believes in free will looks upon it: as the capacity to do this rather than that.
The alternative view of free will makes little, if any, sense. Namely, that while we are not free to choose what we will, if there is nothing constraining us from carrying out that determined choice, then we have "free will."
Well, this viewpoint simply means that humans have as much free will as a well-functioning computer does. Absent software or hardware problems, a computer is able to carry out the tasks that it has been programmed to do. But does this mean it has free will?
No. Likewise, Harris says that because we live in a deterministic universe, human actions also are determined by all of the influences acting upon us from birth onward (even before birth, of course, given genetic influences).
If you watch the video and find flaws in Harris' arguments, please leave a comment explaining what you think he got wrong. Like I said, I find the video highly convincing, but I'm open to hearing reasons why free will isn't an illusion. So far, I just haven't come across any convincing ones.