Is Free Will an Illusion? Confronting Challenges from the Modern Mind Sciences

In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, vol. 4: Freedom and Responsibility. MIT Press (2014)
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Abstract

In this chapter I consider various potential challenges to free will from the modern mind sciences. After motivating the importance of considering these challenges, I outline the argument structure for such challenges: they require simultaneously establishing a particular condition for free will and an empirical challenge to that condition. I consider several potential challenges: determinism, naturalism, and epiphenomenalism, and explain why none of these philosophical challenges is bolstered by new discoveries from neuroscience and psychology. I then respond to relevant empirical challenges to the role of consciousness and rationality in action.

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Eddy Nahmias
Georgia State University

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