Free Will and Necker's Cube: Reason, Language and Top-Down Control in cognitive neuroscience

Philosophy 87 (01):29-50 (2012)
The debates about human free will are traditionally the concern of metaphysics but neuroscientists have recently entered the field arguing that acts of the will are determined by brain events themselves causal products of other events. We examine that claim through the example of free or voluntary switch of perception in relation to the Necker cube. When I am asked to see the cube in one way, I decide whether I will follow the command (or do as I am asked) using skills that reason and language give to me and change my brain states accordingly. The voluntary shift of perspective in seeing the Necker cube this way or that exemplifies the top-down control exercised by a human being on the basis of the role of language and meaning in their activity. It also indicates the lived story that is at the centre of each human consciousness. In the third part of this essay, three arguments are used to undermine metaphysical objections to the very idea of top-down self control
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S003181911100057X
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,651
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Ned Block (2003). Spatial Perception Via Tactile Sensation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (7):285-286.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

34 ( #139,870 of 1,902,709 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #452,252 of 1,902,709 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.