Free Will, Self-Governance and Neuroscience: An Overview

Neuroethics 11 (3):237-244 (2018)
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Abstract

Given dramatic increases in recent decades in the pace of scientific discovery and understanding of the functional organization of the brain, it is increasingly clear that engagement with the neuroscientific literature and research is central to making progress on philosophical questions regarding the nature and scope of human freedom and responsibility. While patterns of brain activity cannot provide the whole story, developing a deeper and more precise understanding of how brain activity is related to human choice and conduct is crucial to the development of realistic, just, and intellectually rigorous models of human agency and moral responsibility. In this special issue, we acknowledge that “free will” and “moral responsibility” are not concepts with which neuroscience can directly engage, and instead focus on self-governance, and the capacities that contribute to self-governance, which are more tractable for scientific investigation and are prerequisites for the presence of moral responsibility.

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Author Profiles

Alisa Carse
Georgetown University
Hilary Bok
Johns Hopkins University

References found in this work

What do philosophers believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.

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