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

Vervoort, Louis and Blusiewicz, Tomasz (2020) Free will and (in)determinism in the brain: a case for naturalized philosophy. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 35 (3). pp. 345-364. ISSN 2171-679X

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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.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Vervoort, Louisl.vervoort@utmn.ru
Blusiewicz, Tomaszt.blusiewicz@utmn.ru
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: free will, naturalized philosophy, neurobiology, determinism, Libet's experiment, quantum mechanics
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email theoria@ehu.es
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2020 02:54
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2020 02:54
Item ID: 18282
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL: https://ojs.ehu.eus/index.php/THEORIA/article/view...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.21302
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: September 2020
Page Range: pp. 345-364
Volume: 35
Number: 3
ISSN: 2171-679X
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18282

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