David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2):262-265 (2013)
Over the last 25 years, experimental findings published by Benjamin Libet have indicated that conscious acts of will are preceded by a characteristic kind of brain event of which the agent is not conscious. It, Libet says, rather than the will, is what causes actions. His discoveries, if correct, would seem to imply that the notion of a free, conscious will is an illusion, and that actions are initiated by neural processes not under conscious control. In what follows it is argued that Libet’s conclusion is incorrect, and that other evidence points to the essential causal role of consciousness in voluntary action.
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