Free will and (in)determinism in the brain: a case for naturalized philosophy

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
In this article we study the question of free will from an interdisciplinary angle, drawing on philosophy, neurobiology and physics. We start by reviewing relevant neurobiological findings on the functioning of the brain, notably as presented in (Koch 2009); we assess these against the physics of (in)determinism. These biophysics findings seem to indicate that neuronal processes are not quantum but classical in nature. We conclude from this that there is little support for the existence of an immaterial ‘mind’, capable of ruling over matter independently of the causal past. But what, then, can free will be ? We propose a compatibilist account that resonates well with neurobiology and physics, and that highlights that free will comes in degrees – degrees which vary with the conscious grasp the ‘free’ agent has over his actions. Finally, we analyze the well-known Libet experiment on free will through the lens of our model. We submit this interdisciplinary investigation as a typical case of naturalized philosophy: in our theorizing we privilege assumptions that find evidence in science, but our conceptual work also suggests new avenues for research in a few scientific disciplines.
Categories
PhilPapers/Archive ID
VERFWA
Revision history
Archival date: 2020-01-10
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2020-01-10

Total views
30 ( #43,341 of 46,294 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
30 ( #26,206 of 46,294 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.