Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Lecture | Eddy Nahmias | I’m Glad ‘My Brain Made Me Do It’:  Free Will as a Neuropsychological Success Story

Episode Summary

Lecture | Eddy Nahmias | I’m Glad ‘My Brain Made Me Do It’:  Free Will as a Neuropsychological Success Story

Episode Notes

‘Willusionists’ argue that science is discovering that free will is an illusion. Their arguments take a variety of forms, but they often suggest that if the brain is responsible for our actions, then we are not.  And they predict that ordinary people share this view.  I will discuss some evidence that most people do not think that free will or responsibility conflict with the possibility that our decisions could be perfectly predicted based on earlier brain activity.  I will consider why this possibility might appear problematic but why it shouldn’t.  Once we define free will properly, we see that neuroscience and psychology can help to explain how it works, rather than explain it away.  Human free will is allowed by a remarkable assembly of neuropsychological capacities, including imagination, control of attention, valuing, and ‘self-habituation’. September 17, 2014