About this topic
Summary Most philosophers hold that the free will debate is largely conceptual, but at very least we must look to the sciences to discover whether the conditions we identify as required for free will are actual. For instance, if free will requires that determinism is false, we must look to physics to discover the nature of causal processes. More generally, many people have seen in the special sciences possible threats to the existence or constraints on the extent of free will.
Key works A number of philosophers have hoped to secure libertarian free will by reference to quantum mechanics. See for a signal instance Hodgson 2012. A great deal of attention has been paid to possible threats from psychology and from neuroscience. Swinburne 2011 presents essays surveying these issues while Mele 2009 is near definitive. Behavioral genetics has received less attention: Greenspan et al forthcoming is a useful collection.
Introductions Mele 2008;Mele 2011
  Show all references
Related categories
Subcategories:See also:
649 found
Search inside:
(import / add options)   Sort by:
1 — 50 / 649
Material to categorize
  1. Yemima Ben-Menahem (2007). Free Creations of the Human Mind. Iyyun 56:141.
    Remove from this list |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  2. José Luis Bermúdez (2010). Action and Awareness of Agency: Comments on Chris Frith. Pragmatics and Cognition 18 (3):576-588.
    Chris Frith's target chapters contain a wealth of interesting experiments and striking theoretical claims. In these comments I begin by drawing out some of the key themes in his discussion of action and the sense of agency. Frith's central claim about conscious action is that what we are primarily conscious of in acting is our own agency. I will review some of the experimental evidence that he interprets in support of this claim and then explore the following three questions about (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  3. Pedro Vicente Castro Guillén (2012). Las raíces del voluntarismo neoliberal. Apuntes Filosóficos 6.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  4. Richard Corrigan (2008). Freedom and Neurobiology, by John Searle. Philosophy Now 66:40-41.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  5. Paula Droege (2010). The Role of Unconsciousness in Free Will. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (5-6):5-6.
    Does neuroscience show that free will is an illusion? No, it shows that unconscious mental states are causally effective in action. Because free will includes initiation by both conscious and unconscious states, the self as free agent should be characterized in terms of more than her conscious deliberations to range over unconscious beliefs, memories and feelings. Further, the ways social relations influence action and the ways actions influence the social environment are relevant to a full account of free will. Given (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  6. John Martin Fischer (2003). Freedom Evolves. Journal of Philosophy 100 (12):632-637.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  7. A. J. C. Freeman (1999). Decisive Action. Personal Responsibility All the Way Down. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):8-9.
    I do not approach the question of free will as a scientist, like Colin Blakemore, or a lawyer, like David Hodgson, or philosopher, like Daniel Dennett, but as a priest -- someone who feels responsible for my own actions and who is called upon to counsel and absolve such as come to me with their shame and their guilt. Should I say that their sense of responsibility is illusory? Or should I encourage them to accept responsibility, and then to deal (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  8. Gilberto Gomes (1999). Volition and the Readiness Potential. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):59-76.
    1. Introduction The readiness potential was found to precede voluntary acts by about half a second or more (Kornhuber & Deecke, 1965). Kornhuber (1984) discussed the readiness potential in terms of volition, arguing that it is not the manifestation of an attentional processes. Libet discussed it in relation to consciousness and to free will (Libet et al. 1983a; 1983b; Libet, 1985, 1992, 1993). Libet asked the following questions. Are voluntary acts initiated by a conscious decision to act? Are the physiological (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  9. Mae-Wan Ho (1996). The Biology of Free Will. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):231-244.
    According to Bergson , the traditional problem of free will is misconceived and arises from a mismatch between the quality of authentic, subjective experience and its description in language, in particular, the language of the mechanistic science of psychology. Contemporary western scientific concepts of the organism, on the other hand, are leading us beyond conventional thermodynamics as well as quantum theory and offering rigorous insights which reaffirm and extend our intuitive, poetic, and even romantic notions of spontaneity and free will. (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  10. David Hodgson (1999). Hume's Mistake. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):201-24.
    Hume claimed that anything that happens must either be causally determined or a matter of chance, and that a person is responsible only for choices caused by the person’s character; so that if any sense is to made of free will and responsibility, it must be on the basis that they are compatible with determinism.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  11. David H. Ingvar (1999). On Volition: A Neurophysiologically Oriented Essay. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):8-9.
    During the last decades, the enigmatic field of volition has been the object of quantitative brain mapping studies. In this essay, emphasis will be given to brain mapping observations during overt or imagined willed acts in conscious normal individuals. The findings suggest that such acts are ‘formulated’ in the frontal/prefrontal cortex as neuronal programs for future motor, behavioural, verbal, or cognitive acts. During imagined movements or speech, brain mapping reveals important prefrontal activations which contrast to perirolandic activations during overt willed (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  12. Whitley R. Kaufman (2014). Why Science Does Not Refute Free Will. Southwest Philosophy Review 30 (1):219-225.
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  13. Jack Martin (2012). Agent Causation and Compatibilism Reconsidered The Evolutionary and Developmental Emergence of Self-Determining Persons. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (5-6):5-6.
    The central argument of this paper is that compatibilist theories that understand human agent causation as self-determination are consistent with, and can accommodate, important insights from evolutionary and developmental psychology. Agent causation is nothing more than the non-mysterious self-determining capability of persons, understood as embodied, emergent ontological entities whose nature is not fixed due to their uniquely evolved and developed capabilities of language use, cultural construction, self-consciousness and self-understanding, and moral concern. Relevant arguments of Dennett and Searle are adapted to (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  14. Gareth B. Matthews & S. Marc Cohen (1967). Wants and Lacks. Journal of Philosophy 64 (14):455-456.
    Anthony Kenny says it is impossible to want what one already has and knows one has. We present a counter-example and then suggest that Kenny may have been misled by the fact that wanting expresses itself in goal-directed behavior. From the truism that one's behavior cannot be directed toward a goal that one knows one has already attained, Kenny may have been led to suppose that behavior directed toward an as yet unattained goal cannot express one's desire for what one (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  15. Shaun Maxwell (2005). Review of “Freedom Evolves”. [REVIEW] Essays in Philosophy 6 (1):22.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  16. Uwe Meixner (2008). New Perspectives for a Dualistic Conception of Mental Causation. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (1):17-38.
    The paper provides new perspectives for a dualistic conception of mental causation by putting causation that originates in a nonphysical self into an evolutionary perspective. Nonphysical causation of this type - free agency -, together with nonphysical consciousness, is regarded as being not only compatible with physics, but also as having a natural place in nature. It is described how free agency can work, on the basis of the brain, and how it can be compatible with the result of the (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  17. Eddy A. Nahmias (2002). When Consciousness Matters: A Critical Review of Daniel Wegner's the Illusion of Conscious Will. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):527-541.
    In The illusion of conscious will , Daniel Wegner offers an exciting, informative, and potentially threatening treatise on the psychology of action. I offer several interpretations of the thesis that conscious will is an illusion. The one Wegner seems to suggest is "modular epiphenomenalism": conscious experience of will is produced by a brain system distinct from the system that produces action; it interprets our behavior but does not, as it seems to us, cause it. I argue that the evidence Wegner (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (6 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  18. H. S. R. (1981). Science in a Free Society. Review of Metaphysics 35 (2):383-385.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  19. Joseph Rychlak (1980). Concepts of Free Will in Modern Psychological Science. Journal of Mind and Behavior 1 (1).
    Remove from this list |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  20. Grant S. Shields (2014). Neuroscience and Conscious Causation: Has Neuroscience Shown That We Cannot Control Our Own Actions? Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (4):565-582.
    Neuroscience has begun to elucidate the mechanisms of volition, decision-making, and action. Some have taken the progress neuroscience has made in these areas to indicate that we are not free to choose our actions . The notion that we can consciously initiate our behavior is a crucial tenet in the concept of free will, and closely linked to how most individuals view themselves as persons. There is thus reason to inquire if the aforementioned inference drawn by some might be too (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  21. Henry P. Stapp (1996). The Hard Problem: A Quantum Approach. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):194-210.
    [opening paragraph]: In his keynote paper David Chalmers defines ‘the hard problem’ by posing certain ‘Why’ questions about consciousness? Such questions must be posed within an appropriate setting. The way of science is to try to deduce the answer to many such questions from a few well defined assumptions. Much about nature can be explained in terms of the principles of classical mechanics. The assumptions, in this explanatory scheme, are that the world is composed exclusively of particles and fields governed (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (7 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  22. David Lay Williams (2014). Balaguer, Mark. Free Will. Review of Metaphysics 68 (2):415-416.
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  23. Jing Zhu (2003). Reclaiming Volition: An Alternative Interpretation of Libet's Experiment. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (11):61-77.
    Based on his experimental studies, Libet claims that voluntary actions are initiated by unconscious brain activities well before intentions or decisions to act are consciously experienced by people. This account conflicts with our common-sense conception of human agency, in which people consciously and intentionally exert volitions or acts of will to initiate voluntary actions. This paper offers an alternative interpretation of Libet's experiment. The cause of the intentional acts performed by the subjects in Libet's experiment should not be exclusively attributed (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
Free Will and Genetics
  1. Patricia S. Greenspan, Free Will and Genetic Determinism: Locating the Problem(S).
    I was led to this clarificatory job initially by some puzzlement from a philosopher's standpoint about just why free will questions should come up particularly in connection with the genome project, as opposed to the many other scientific research programs that presuppose determinism. The philosophic concept of determinism involves explanation of all events, including human action, by prior causal factors--so that whether or not human behavior has a genetic basis, it ultimately gets traced back to _something_ true of the world (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  2. Patricia S. Greenspan (2001). Genes, Electrotransmitters, and Free Will. In Patricia S. Greenspan, David Wasserman & Robert Wachbroit (eds.), Genetics and Criminal Behavior: Methods, Meanings, and Morals. Cambridge University Press.
    There seems to be evidence of a genetic component in criminal behavior. It is widely agreed not to be "deterministic"--by which discussions outside philosophy seem to mean that by itself it is not sufficient to determine behavior. Environmental factors make a decisive difference--for that matter, there are nongenetic biological factors--in whether and how genetic.
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  3. Patricia S. Greenspan (1993). Free Will and the Genome Project. Philosophy and Public Affairs 22 (1):31-43.
    Popular and scientific accounts of the U.S. Human Genome Project often express concern about the implications of the project for the philosophic question of free will and responsibility. However, on its standard construal within philosophy, the question of free will versus determinism poses no special problems in relation to genetic research. The paper identifies a variant version of the free will question, free will versus internal constraint, that might well pose a threat to notions of individual autonomy and virtue in (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (8 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  4. Patricia S. Greenspan, David Wasserman & Robert Wachbroit (eds.) (forthcoming). Genetics and Criminal Behavior: Methods, Meanings, and Morals. Cambridge University Press.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  5. Peter Lipton (2004). Genetic and Generic Determinism: A New Threat to Free Will? In D. Rees & Steven P. R. Rose (eds.), The New Brain Sciences: Perils and Prospects. Cambridge University Press. 88.
    We are discovering more and more about the human genotypes and about the connections between genotype and behaviour. Do these advances in genetic information threaten our free will? This paper offers a philosopher’s perspective on the question.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  6. Garry Young (2007). Igniting the Flicker of Freedom: Revisiting the Frankfurt Scenario. Philosophia 35 (2):171-180.
    This paper aims to challenge the view that the sign present in many Frankfurt-style scenarios is insufficiently robust to constitute evidence for the possibility of an alternate decision, and therefore inadequate as a means of determining moral responsibility. I have amended Frankfurt’s original scenario, so as to allow Jones, as well as Black, the opportunity to monitor his (Jones’s) own inclination towards a particular decision (the sign). Different outcome possibilities are presented, to the effect that Jones’s awareness of his own (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (7 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
Free Will and Neuroscience
  1. George J. Agich (2004). Seeking the Everyday Meaning of Autonomy in Neurologic Disorders. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 11 (4):295-298.
  2. Rosemary Agonito (1975). Neurological Information Processing and Free Persons. Southern Journal of Philosophy 13 (1):3-11.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (6 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  3. Roksana Alavi (2005). Robert Kane, Free Will, and Neuro-Indeterminism. Philo 8 (2):95-108.
    In this paper I argue that Robert Kane’s defense of event-causal libertarianism, as presented in Responsibility, Luck, and Chance: Reflections on Free Will and Indeterminism, fails because his event-causal reconstruction is incoherent. I focus on the notions of efforts and self-forming actions essential to his defense.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  4. Roksana Alavi (2005). Robert Kane, Free Will and Neuro-Indeterminism. Philo 8 (2):95-108.
    In this paper I argue that Robert Kane’s defense of event-causal libertarianism, as presented in Responsibility, Luck, and Chance: Reflections on Free Will and Indeterminism, fails because his event-causal reconstruction is incoherent. I focus on the notions of efforts and self-forming actions essential to his defense.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  5. Joel Anderson (2007). Introduction: Free Will, Neuroscience, and the Participant Perspective. Philosophical Explorations 10 (1):3 – 11.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  6. Kristin Andrews (2003). Neurophilosophy of Free Will: From Libertarian Illusions to a Concept of Natural Autonomy by Henrik Walter. Philo 6 (1):166-175.
  7. Kristin Andrews (2003). Neurophilosophy of Free Will by Henrik Walter. Philo 6 (1):166-175.
  8. Kristin Andrews (2003). Walter's Neurophilosophy of Free Will: A Review. Philo 6:166.
    Remove from this list |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  9. Harald Atmanspacher & Stefan Rotter (2011). On Determinacy or its Absence in the Brain. In Richard Swinburne (ed.), Free Will and Modern Science. Oup/British Academy.
    Remove from this list |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  10. Mark Balaguer (2010). Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem. Mit Press.
    In this largely antimetaphysical treatment of free will and determinism, Mark Balaguer argues that the philosophical problem of free will boils down to an open ...
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  11. William P. Banks & Susan Pockett (2007). Benjamin Libet's Work on the Neuroscience of Free Will. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell. 657--670.
  12. Alexander Batthyany & Avshalom C. Elitzur (eds.) (2009). Irreducibly Conscious. Selected Papers on Consciousness. Winter.
  13. Roy F. Baumeister, Alfred R. Mele & Kathleen D. Vohs (eds.) (2010). Free Will and Consciousness: How Might They Work? University Press.
    This volume is aimed at readers who wish to move beyond debates about the existence of free will and the efficacy of consciousness and closer to appreciating ...
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  14. Tim Bayne (2011). Libet and the Case for Free Will Scepticism. In Richard Swinburne (ed.), Free Will and Modern Science. Oup/British Academy.
    Free will sceptics claim that we do not possess free will—or at least, that we do not possess nearly as much free will as we think we do. Some free will sceptics hold that the very notion of free will is incoherent, and that no being could possibly possess free will (Strawson this volume). Others allow that the notion of free will is coherent, but hold that features of our cognitive architecture prevent us from possessing free will. My concern in (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  15. Timothy M. Beardsley, W. Ronald Heyer, John C. Pugh, Paul D. Thacker, Robert E. Gropp & Lawrence E. Licht (2003). 1. Seeing the (UV) Light Seeing the (UV) Light (P. 539) Free Content. BioScience 53 (6).
    Remove from this list |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  16. Helen Beebee (2012). Free Will Sans Metaphysics? Metascience 21 (1):77-81.
    Free will sans metaphysics? Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9525-5 Authors Helen Beebee, Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (7 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  17. Dennis Bielfeldt (2009). Freedom and Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power. By John R. Searle. Zygon 44 (4):999-1002.
  18. Gunnar Björnsson & Derk Pereboom (forthcoming). Comments on Eddy Nahmias, “Is Free Will an Illusion?”. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, Vol. 4. MIT Press.
    Discusses Eddy Nahmias' “Is Free Will an Illusion?”.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  19. Pratima Bowes (1971). Consciousness And Freedom: Three Views. London,: Methuen.
  20. Conal Boyce (2012). Recovering From Libet's Left Turn Into Veto-as-Volition: A Proposal for Dealing Honestly with the Central Mystery of Libet (1983). Open Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):17-24.
    With certain topics the general reader experiences a double-whammy wherein one must peer through a curtain of needlessly obscure jargon to try glimpsing something that is inherently weird in nature. Bell’s nonlocality was once such a topic, but authors have had considerable success over the years in showing where the line is between the enigma itself and the human-made oddities surrounding it . Libet-ology has yet to undergo that de-mystifying process. Accordingly, our first order of business here is to restate (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  21. Jean E. Burns (2012). The Action of the Mind. In I. Fredriksson (ed.), Aspects of Consciousness. McFarland. 204.
    It is assumed that mental action, such as free will, exists, and an exploration is made of its relationship to the brain, physical laws, and evolutionary selection. If the assumption is made that all content of conscious experience is encoded in the brain, it follows that free will must act as process only. This result is consistent with the experimental results of Libet and others that if free will exists, it must act by making a selection between alternatives provided by (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
1 — 50 / 649