is science compatible with free will

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Is Science Compatible With Free Will

Author : Antoine Suarez
ISBN : 9781461452126
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 59. 47 MB
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Anyone who claims the right ‘to choose how to live their life’ excludes any purely deterministic description of their brain in terms of genes, chemicals or environmental influences. For example, when an author of a text expresses his thoughts, he assumes that, in typing the text, he governs the firing of the neurons in his brain and the movement of his fingers through the exercise of his own free will: what he writes is not completely pre-determined at the beginning of the universe. Yet in the field of neuroscience today, determinism dominates. There is a conflict between the daily life conviction that a human being has free will, and deterministic neuroscience. When faced with this conflict two alternative positions are possible: Either human freedom is an illusion, or deterministic neuroscience is not the last word on the brain and will eventually be superseded by a neuroscience that admits processes not completely determined by the past. This book investigates whether it is possible to have a science in which there is room for human freedom. The book generally concludes that the world and the brain are governed to some extent by non-material agencies, and limited consciousness does not abolish free will and responsibility. The authors present perspectives coming from different disciplines (Neuroscience, Quantumphysics and Philosophy) and range from those focusing on the scientific background, to those highlighting rather more a philosophical analysis. However, all chapters share a common characteristic: they take current scientific observations and data as a basis from which to draw philosophical implications. It is these features that make this volume unique, an exceptional interdisciplinary approach combining scientific strength and philosophical profundity. We are convinced that it will strongly stimulate the debate and contribute to new insights in the mind-brain relationship. ​

Laws Mind And Free Will

Author : Steven W. Horst
ISBN : 9780262015257
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 41. 38 MB
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An account of scientific laws that vindicates the status of psychological laws and shows natural laws to be compatible with free will. In Laws, Mind, and Free Will, Steven Horst addresses the apparent dissonance between the picture of the natural world that arises from the sciences and our understanding of ourselves as agents who think and act. If the mind and the world are entirely governed by natural laws, there seems to be no room left for free will to operate. Moreover, although the laws of physical science are clear and verifiable, the sciences of the mind seem to yield only rough generalizations rather than universal laws of nature. Horst argues that these two familiar problems in philosophy--the apparent tension between free will and natural law and the absence of "strict" laws in the sciences of the mind--are artifacts of a particular philosophical thesis about the nature of laws: that laws make claims about how objects actually behave. Horst argues against this Empiricist orthodoxy and proposes an alternative account of laws--an account rooted in a cognitivist approach to philosophy of science. Horst argues that once we abandon the Empiricist misunderstandings of the nature of laws there is no contrast between "strict" laws and generalizations about the mind ("ceteris paribus" laws, laws hedged by the caveat "other things being equal"), and that a commitment to laws is compatible with a commitment to the existence of free will. Horst's alternative account, which he calls "cognitive Pluralism," vindicates the truth of psychological laws and resolves the tension between human freedom and the sciences.

Free Will Consciousness And Self

Author : Preben Bertelsen
ISBN : 1845453131
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 70. 74 MB
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What is it to be human? How do we relate to the world, to each other and to our self in a human – in everyday life and when faced with life’s big questions? In this book, the author develops a general theoretical model that might be able to offer a better understanding of the human condition and of the underlying principles of human behavior. The author shows that general psychology, bridging the natural sciences and the social sciences, can make a significant contribution to a general anthropology.

Rationality Consciousness Free Will

Author : David Hodgson
ISBN : 9780199845309
Genre : Law
File Size : 63. 51 MB
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In this challenging book, David Hodgson takes a fresh approach to the question of free will, contending that close consideration of human rationality and human consciousness shows that together they give us free will, in a robust and indeterministic sense, and in a way that is consistent with what science tells us about the world.

Who S In Charge

Author : Michael Gazzaniga
ISBN : 9781780337760
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 84. 21 MB
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The prevailing orthodoxy in brain science is that since physical laws govern our physical brains, physical laws therefore govern our behaviour and even our conscious selves. Free will is meaningless, goes the mantra; we live in a 'determined' world. Not so, argues the renowned neuroscientist Michael S. Gazzaniga as he explains how the mind, 'constrains' the brain just as cars are constrained by the traffic they create. Writing with what Steven Pinker has called 'his trademark wit and lack of pretension,' Gazzaniga ranges across neuroscience, psychology and ethics to show how incorrect it is to blame our brains for our behaviour. Even given the latest insights into the physical mechanisms of the mind, he explains, we are responsible agents who should be held accountable for our actions, because responsibility is found in how people interact, not in brains. An extraordinary book, combining a light touch with profound implications, Who's in Charge? is a lasting contribution from one of the leading thinkers of our time.

Free Will

Author : Meghan Griffith
ISBN : 9780415562195
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 76. 35 MB
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The question of whether humans are free to make their own decisions has long been debated and it continues to be a controversial topic today. In Free Will: The Basics readers are provided with a clear and accessible introduction to this central but challenging philosophical problem. The questions which are discussed include: Does free will exist? Or is it illusory? Can we be free even if everything is determined by a chain of causes? If our actions are not determined, does this mean they are just random or a matter of luck? In order to have the kind of freedom required for moral responsibility, must we have alternatives? What can recent developments in science tell us about the existence of free will? Because these questions are discussed without prejudicing one view over others and all technical terminology is clearly explained, this book is an ideal introduction to free will for the uninitiated.

The Illusion Of Determinism

Author : Edwin A. Locke
ISBN : 9781543914238
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 45. 55 MB
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This book shows that the theory of determinism, the doctrine that everything we believe, feel or do is determined by forces outside our control, is false (and actually self contradictory). The book shows that free will is self caused and involves the choice to use our rational faculty or not. Experiments that claim to prove determinism are refuted. The "libertarian" view that free will is based on randomness is also show to be fallacious. A distinction is made between what free will entails and what its limits are. The book shows that determinists' scorn for people who believe in free will (calling this view "folk psychology" based on ignorance) is misguided. It is determinists who are victims of a false view of human nature.

Free Will

Author : Sam Harris
ISBN : 9781451683400
Genre : Science
File Size : 62. 50 MB
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The physiologist Benjamin Libet famously demonstrated that activity in the brain's motor regions can be detected some 300 milliseconds before a person feels that he has decided to move. Another lab recently used fMRI data to show that some "conscious" decisions can be predicted up to 10 seconds before they enter awareness (long before the preparatory motor activity detected by Libet). Clearly, findings of this kind are difficult to reconcile with the sense that one is the conscious source of one's actions. The question of free will is no mere curio of philosophy seminars. A belief in free will underwrites both the religious notion of "sin" and our enduring commitment to retributive justice. The Supreme Court has called free will a "universal and persistent" foundation for our system of law. Any scientific developments that threatened our notion of free will would seem to put the ethics of punishing people for their bad behaviour in question.In Free Will Harris debates these ideas and asks whether or not, given what brain science is telling us, we actually have free will?


Author : Alfred R. Mele
ISBN : 9780199371624
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 90. 14 MB
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"Scientists have forged a penetrating, coherent course in the study of human thought and action. Yet some of the same scientists have slashed out an adjacent, rough-hewn path, cutting at the roots of the belief in free will and at the groundwork of relationships among the conscious will, the mind, and the brain. Claiming to disprove the existence of free will is not only wrongheaded, Mele argues, but harmful; research shows that people who don't believe they are free are more likely to behave badly, as they sink into feeling like they aren't responsible for their actions. Putting a positive spin on this, Mele conveys what he calls the 'good news' that we are freer than we think. If we see ourselves as morally responsible for our future actions, we can begin to view ourselves as having abilities and capacities that give us considerable control over what we do. Mele takes apart the findings of neuroscience and psychology experiments often cited as irrefutably disproving the existence of free will, for example those of Benjamin Libet, and demonstrates that their results have been misinterpreted. Mele explains why the experimental findings are actually consistent with our making many of our decisions consciously and with our having considerable control over many of our decisions and actions. In order to find truth and clarity on this crucial topic, Mele argues, philosophers, scientists, and psychologists alike need to explore one another's work rather than relying on scientific findings - and a rigid interpretation of those findings- as the only key to solving the complex puzzle that is free will"--

A Dialogue On Free Will And Science

Author : Alfred R. Mele
ISBN : 019932929X
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 33. 38 MB
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A Dialogue on Free Will and Science is a brief and intriguing book discussing the scientific challenges of free will. Presented through a dialogue, the format allows ideas to emerge and be clarified and then evaluated in a natural way. Engaging and accessible, it offers students a compelling look at free will and science.

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