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Free will is not a testable hypothesis

Northcott, Robert (2018) Free will is not a testable hypothesis. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Much recent work in neuroscience aims to shed light on whether we have free will. Can it? Can any science? To answer, we need to disentangle different notions of free will, and clarify what we mean by ‘empirical’ and ‘testable’. That done, my main conclusion is, duly interpreted: that free will is not a testable hypothesis. In particular, it is neither verifiable nor falsifiable by empirical evidence. The arguments for this are not a priori but rather are based on a posteriori consideration of the relevant neuroscientific investigations, as well as on standard philosophy of science work on the notion of testability.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Northcott, Robertr.northcott@bbk.ac.uk
Additional Information: forthcoming in Erkenntnis
Keywords: free will, neuroscience, testability
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Depositing User: Dr Robert Northcott
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 16:46
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2018 16:46
Item ID: 15384
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Date: 27 November 2018
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15384

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