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Trends Cogn Sci. 2006 Sep;10(9):419-23. Epub 2006 Aug 8.

Neuroscientific challenges to free will and responsibility.

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1
Department of Philosophy, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA. adina.roskies@dartmouth.edu

Abstract

Recent developments in neuroscience raise the worry that understanding how brains cause behavior will undermine our views about free will and, consequently, about moral responsibility. The potential ethical consequences of such a result are sweeping. I provide three reasons to think that these worries seemingly inspired by neuroscience are misplaced. First, problems for common-sense notions of freedom exist independently of neuroscientific advances. Second, neuroscience is not in a position to undermine our intuitive notions. Third, recent empirical studies suggest that even if people do misconstrue neuroscientific results as relevant to our notion of freedom, our judgments of moral responsibility will remain largely unaffected. These considerations suggest that neuroethical concerns about challenges to our conception of freedom are misguided.

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PMID:
16901745
DOI:
10.1016/j.tics.2006.07.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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