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Trends Neurosci. 2018 Sep;41(9):573-576. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2018.05.008. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

Does Neuroscience Leave Room for Free Will?

Author information

1
Smurfit Institute of Genetics and Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. Electronic address: kevin.mitchell@tcd.ie.

Abstract

A reductively mechanistic approach to neuroscience suggests that low-level physical laws determine our actions and that mental states are epiphenomena. In this scheme there seems to be little room for free will or genuine agency. I argue here that physical indeterminacy provides room for the information entailed in patterns of neuronal firing - the mental content of beliefs, goals, and intentions - to have real causal power in decision-making.

KEYWORDS:

agency; compatibilism; determinism; emergence; meaning; reductionism

PMID:
29961596
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2018.05.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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