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Making A Scientific Case For Conscious Agency And Free Will

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Making a Scientific Case for Conscious Agency and Free Will

Making a Scientific Case for Conscious Agency and Free Will Book
Author : William R. Klemm
Publisher : Academic Press
Release : 2016-02-11
ISBN : 0128052899
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Making a Scientific Case for Conscious Agency and Free Will makes a series of arguments that certain human behaviors are impossible to explain in the absence of free will, and that free will emerges from materialistic processes of brain function. It outlines future directions for neuroscience studies that can harness emerging technologies and tools for systems-level analysis. All humans have the sensation that they consciously will certain things to happen and that, in the absence of external constraints, they are free to choose from among alternatives. This notion of free will is deemed obvious by the average person based on common experience. Free will is frequently defended with arguments stemming from social, legal, philosophical, and religious perspectives. But these arguments appeal to consequences—not causes—of choices and decisions. In the past 3 decades, debate has raged within the scientific community over whether free will is in fact an illusion. Because free will would require conscious agency, the supporting corollary is that consciousness itself cannot do anything and is merely an observer rather than an actor. Considers arguments for and against free will from religious, social, legal, and neuroscience perspectives Provides thorough coverage of the manifold human behaviors that can be explained only by free will, from consciousness to creativity Outlines future directions for further neuroscience research into the topic

Why Free Will Is Real

Why Free Will Is Real Book
Author : Christian List
Publisher : Harvard University Press
Release : 2019-05-06
ISBN : 0674239814
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Many scientists and scientifically-minded philosophers are skeptical that free will exists. In clear, scientifically rigorous terms, Christian List explains that free will is like other real phenomena that emerge from physical laws but are autonomous from them—like an ecosystem or the economy—and are indispensable for explaining our world.

Free Will

Free Will Book
Author : Sam Harris
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2012-03-06
ISBN : 1451683405
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Sam Harris, bestselling author of THE END OF FAITH takes on one of today's liveliest issues: whether or not we actually have free will.

Free Will and Modern Science

Free Will and Modern Science Book
Author : Richard Swinburne
Publisher : OUP/British Academy
Release : 2011-12-01
ISBN : 9780197264898
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Do humans have the kind of free will which makes them morally responsible for their actions? Essays by distinguished scientists and philosophers investigate whether neuroscience, Quantum theory or mathematics show that human behaviour is or is not fully determined by prior brain states.

Free Will and Consciousness

Free Will and Consciousness Book
Author : Gregg D. Caruso
Publisher : Lexington Books
Release : 2012
ISBN : 0739171364
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

This book argues two main things: The first is that there is no such thing as free will—at least not in the sense most ordinary folk take to be central or fundamental; the second is that the strong and pervasive belief in free will can be accounted for through a careful analysis of our phenomenology and a proper theoretical understanding of consciousness.

The Illusion of Conscious Will

The Illusion of Conscious Will Book
Author : Daniel M. Wegner
Publisher : MIT Press
Release : 2003-08-11
ISBN : 0262290553
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

A novel contribution to the age-old debate about free will versus determinism. Do we consciously cause our actions, or do they happen to us? Philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, theologians, and lawyers have long debated the existence of free will versus determinism. In this book Daniel Wegner offers a novel understanding of the issue. Like actions, he argues, the feeling of conscious will is created by the mind and brain. Yet if psychological and neural mechanisms are responsible for all human behavior, how could we have conscious will? The feeling of conscious will, Wegner shows, helps us to appreciate and remember our authorship of the things our minds and bodies do. Yes, we feel that we consciously will our actions, Wegner says, but at the same time, our actions happen to us. Although conscious will is an illusion, it serves as a guide to understanding ourselves and to developing a sense of responsibility and morality. Approaching conscious will as a topic of psychological study, Wegner examines the issue from a variety of angles. He looks at illusions of the will—those cases where people feel that they are willing an act that they are not doing or, conversely, are not willing an act that they in fact are doing. He explores conscious will in hypnosis, Ouija board spelling, automatic writing, and facilitated communication, as well as in such phenomena as spirit possession, dissociative identity disorder, and trance channeling. The result is a book that sidesteps endless debates to focus, more fruitfully, on the impact on our lives of the illusion of conscious will.

Decomposing the Will

Decomposing the Will Book
Author : Andy Clark,Julian Kiverstein,Tillmann Vierkant
Publisher : Oxford University Press
Release : 2013-02-25
ISBN : 0199876878
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

There is growing evidence from the science of human behavior that our everyday, folk understanding of ourselves as conscious, rational, responsible agents may be radically mistaken. The science, some argue, recommends a view of conscious agency as merely epiphenomenal: an impotent accompaniment to the whirring unconscious machinery (the inner zombie) that prepares, decides and causes our behavior. The new essays in this volume display and explore this radical claim, revisiting the folk concept of the responsible agent after abandoning the image of a central executive, and "decomposing" the notion of the conscious will into multiple interlocking aspects and functions. Part 1 of this volume provides an overview of the scientific research that has been taken to support "the zombie challenge." In part 2, contributors explore the phenomenology of agency and what it is like to be the author of one's own actions. Part 3 then explores different strategies for using the science and phenomenology of human agency to respond to the zombie challenge. Questions explored include: what distinguishes automatic behavior and voluntary action? What, if anything, does consciousness contribute to the voluntary control of behavior? What does the science of human behavior really tell us about the nature of self-control?

Free Will and Consciousness

Free Will and Consciousness Book
Author : Roy Baumeister,Alfred Mele,Kathleen Vohs
Publisher : Oxford University Press
Release : 2010-07-09
ISBN : 0190452870
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

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 how free will and consciousness might operate. It draws from philosophy and psychology, the two fields that have grappled most fundamentally with these issues. In this wide-ranging volume, the contributors explore such issues as how free will is connected to rational choice, planning, and self-control; roles for consciousness in decision making; the nature and power of conscious deciding; connections among free will, consciousness, and quantum mechanics; why free will and consciousness might have evolved; how consciousness develops in individuals; the experience of free will; effects on behavior of the belief that free will is an illusion; and connections between free will and moral responsibility in lay thinking. Collectively, these state-of-the-art chapters by accomplished psychologists and philosophers provide a glimpse into the future of research on free will and consciousness.

Free Will Causality and Neuroscience

Free Will  Causality  and Neuroscience Book
Author : Bernard Feltz,Andrew Cameron Sims
Publisher : Brill / Rodopi
Release : 2019-11
ISBN : 9789004372917
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

This book aims to show that recent developments in neuroscience permit a defense of free will. Through language, human beings can escape strict biological determinism.

Did My Neurons Make Me Do It

Did My Neurons Make Me Do It  Book
Author : Nancey Murphy,Warren S. Brown
Publisher : OUP Oxford
Release : 2007-06-14
ISBN : 0191526916
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

If humans are purely physical, and if it is the brain that does the work formerly assigned to the mind or soul, then how can it fail to be the case that all of our thoughts and actions are determined by the laws of neurobiology? If this is the case, then free will, moral responsibility, and, indeed, reason itself would appear to be in jeopardy. Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown here defend a non-reductive version of physicalism whereby humans are (sometimes) the authors of their own thoughts and actions. Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? brings together insights from both philosophy and the cognitive neurosciences to defeat neurobiological reductionism. One resource is a 'post-Cartesian' account of mind as essentially embodied and constituted by action-feedback-evaluation-action loops in the environment, and 'scaffolded' by cultural resources. Another is a non-mysterious account of downward (mental) causation explained in terms of a complex, higher-order system exercising constraints on lower-level causal processes. These resources are intrinsically related: the embeddedness of brain events in action-feedback loops is the key to their mentality, and those broader systems have causal effects on the brain itself. With these resources Murphy and Brown take on two problems in philosophy of mind: a response to the charges that physicalists cannot account for the meaningfulness of language nor the causal efficacy of the mental qua mental. Solutions to these problems are a prerequisite to addressing the central problem of the book: how can biological organisms be free and morally responsible? The authors argue that the free-will problem is badly framed if it is put in terms of neurobiological determinism; the real issue is neurobiological reductionism. If it is indeed possible to make sense of the notion of downward causation, then the relevant question is whether humans exert downward causation over some of their own parts and processes. If all organisms do this to some extent, what needs to be added to this animalian flexibility to constitute free and responsible action? The keys are sophisticated language and hierarchically ordered cognitive processes allowing (mature) humans to evaluate their own actions, motives, goals, and rational and moral principles.

Islamic Psychology

Islamic Psychology Book
Author : G. Hussein Rassool
Publisher : Routledge
Release : 2021-03-31
ISBN : 1000363082
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Islamic Psychology or ilm an-nafs (science of the soul) is an important introductory textbook drawing on the latest evidence in the sub-disciplines of psychology to provide a balanced and comprehensive view of human nature, behaviour and experience. Its foundation to develop theories about human nature is based upon the writings of the Qur'an, Sunna, Muslim scholars and contemporary research findings. Synthesising contemporary empirical psychology and Islamic psychology, this book is holistic in both nature and process and includes the physical, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions of human behaviour and experience. Through a broad and comprehensive scope, the book addresses three main areas: Context, perspectives and the clinical applications of applied psychology from an Islamic approach. This book is a core text on Islamic psychology for undergraduate and postgraduate students and those undertaking continuing professional development in Islamic psychology, psychotherapy and counselling. Beyond this, it is also a good supporting resource for teachers and lecturers in this field.

Free

Free Book
Author : Alfred R. Mele
Publisher : Oxford University Press
Release : 2014-09-02
ISBN : 0199371636
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Does free will exist? The question has fueled heated debates spanning from philosophy to psychology and religion. The answer has major implications, and the stakes are high. To put it in the simple terms that have come to dominate these debates, if we are free to make our own decisions, we are accountable for what we do, and if we aren't free, we're off the hook. There are neuroscientists who claim that our decisions are made unconsciously and are therefore outside of our control and social psychologists who argue that myriad imperceptible factors influence even our minor decisions to the extent that there is no room for free will. According to philosopher Alfred R. Mele, what they point to as hard and fast evidence that free will cannot exist actually leaves much room for doubt. If we look more closely at the major experiments that free will deniers cite, we can see large gaps where the light of possibility shines through. In Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will, Mele lays out his opponents' experiments simply and clearly, and proceeds to debunk their supposed findings, one by one, explaining how the experiments don't provide the solid evidence for which they have been touted. There is powerful evidence that conscious decisions play an important role in our lives, and knowledge about situational influences can allow people to respond to those influences rationally rather than with blind obedience. Mele also explores the meaning and ramifications of free will. What, exactly, does it mean to have free will -- is it a state of our soul, or an undefinable openness to alternative decisions? Is it something natural and practical that is closely tied to moral responsibility? Since evidence suggests that denying the existence of free will actually encourages bad behavior, we have a duty to give it a fair chance.

The Learning Skills Cycle

The Learning Skills Cycle Book
Author : William R. Klemm
Publisher : Rowman & Littlefield
Release : 2017-03-01
ISBN : 1475833237
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

This book's ideas demonstrate how students are not adequately taught the learning skills necessary for superior academic achievement. The major reason schools are failing is that there is less emphasis on teaching students how to learn, the focus is on what to learn instead. This book provides teachers and parents with many concepts and tactics that they can use to teach children how to learn more efficiently and effectively. This book identifies and explains those skills and frames them as interacting in a mutually interacting and reinforcing cycle that I call the Learning Skills Cycle.

Conscious Will and Responsibility

Conscious Will and Responsibility Book
Author : Walter Sinnott-Armstrong,Lynn Nadel
Publisher : Oxford University Press
Release : 2011
ISBN : 0195381645
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

We all seem to think that we do the acts we do because we consciously choose to do them. This commonsense view is thrown into dispute by Benjamin Libet's eyebrow-raising experiments, which seem to suggest that conscious will occurs not before but after the start of brain activity that produces physical action.Libet's striking results are often claimed to undermine traditional views of free will and moral responsibility and to have practical implications for criminal justice. His work has also stimulated a flurry of further fascinating scientific research--including findings in psychology by Dan Wegner and in neuroscience by John-Dylan Haynes--that raises novel questions about whether conscious will plays any causal role in action. Critics respond that both commonsense views of action and traditional theories of moral and legal responsibility, as well as free will, can survive the scientific onslaught of Libet and his progeny. To further this lively debate, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Lynn Nadel have brought together prominent experts in neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and law to discuss whether our conscious choices really cause our actions, and what the answers to that question mean for how we view ourselves and how we should treat each other.

Are We Free Psychology and Free Will

Are We Free  Psychology and Free Will Book
Author : John Baer,James C. Kaufman,Roy F. Baumeister
Publisher : Oxford University Press
Release : 2008-02-25
ISBN : 0190293470
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Do people have free will, or this universal belief an illusion? If free will is more than an illusion, what kind of free will do people have? How can free will influence behavior? Can free will be studied, verified, and understood scientifically? How and why might a sense of free will have evolved? These are a few of the questions this book attempts to answer. People generally act as though they believe in their own free will: they don't feel like automatons, and they don't treat one another as they might treat robots. While acknowledging many constraints and influences on behavior, people nonetheless act as if they (and their neighbors) are largely in control of many if not most of the decisions they make. Belief in free will also underpins the sense that people are responsible for their actions. Psychological explanations of behavior rarely mention free will as a factor, however. Can psychological science find room for free will? How do leading psychologists conceptualize free will, and what role do they believe free will plays in shaping behavior? In recent years a number of psychologists have tried to solve one or more of the puzzles surrounding free will. This book looks both at recent experimental and theoretical work directly related to free will and at ways leading psychologists from all branches of psychology deal with the philosophical problems long associated with the question of free will, such as the relationship between determinism and free will and the importance of consciousness in free will. It also includes commentaries by leading philosophers on what psychologists can contribute to long-running philosophical struggles with this most distinctly human belief. These essays should be of interest not only to social scientists, but to intelligent and thoughtful readers everywhere.

Free Will

Free Will Book
Author : Mark Balaguer
Publisher : MIT Press
Release : 2014-02-14
ISBN : 0262525798
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

A philosopher considers whether the scientific and philosophical arguments against free will are reason enough to give up our belief in it. In our daily life, it really seems as though we have free will, that what we do from moment to moment is determined by conscious decisions that we freely make. You get up from the couch, you go for a walk, you eat chocolate ice cream. It seems that we're in control of actions like these; if we are, then we have free will. But in recent years, some have argued that free will is an illusion. The neuroscientist (and best-selling author) Sam Harris and the late Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner, for example, claim that certain scientific findings disprove free will. In this engaging and accessible volume in the Essential Knowledge series, the philosopher Mark Balaguer examines the various arguments and experiments that have been cited to support the claim that human beings don't have free will. He finds them to be overstated and misguided. Balaguer discusses determinism, the view that every physical event is predetermined, or completely caused by prior events. He describes several philosophical and scientific arguments against free will, including one based on Benjamin Libet's famous neuroscientific experiments, which allegedly show that our conscious decisions are caused by neural events that occur before we choose. He considers various religious and philosophical views, including the philosophical pro-free-will view known as compatibilism. Balaguer concludes that the anti-free-will arguments put forward by philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists simply don't work. They don't provide any good reason to doubt the existence of free will. But, he cautions, this doesn't necessarily mean that we have free will. The question of whether we have free will remains an open one; we simply don't know enough about the brain to answer it definitively.

Neurophilosophy of Free Will

Neurophilosophy of Free Will Book
Author : Henrik Walter
Publisher : MIT Press
Release : 2009-01-23
ISBN : 9780262265034
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Walter applies the methodology of neurophilosophy to one of philosophy's central challenges, the notion of free will. Neurophilosophical conclusions are based on, and consistent with, scientific knowledge about the brain and its functioning. Neuroscientists routinely investigate such classical philosophical topics as consciousness, thought, language, meaning, aesthetics, and death. According to Henrik Walter, philosophers should in turn embrace the wealth of research findings and ideas provided by neuroscience. In this book Walter applies the methodology of neurophilosophy to one of philosophy's central challenges, the notion of free will. Neurophilosophical conclusions are based on, and consistent with, scientific knowledge about the brain and its functioning. Walter's answer to whether there is free will is, It depends. The basic questions concerning free will are (1) whether we are able to choose other than we actually do, (2) whether our choices are made intelligibly, and (3) whether we are really the originators of our choices. According to Walter, freedom of will is an illusion if we mean by it that under identical conditions we would be able to do or decide otherwise, while simultaneously acting only for reasons and being the true originators of our actions. In place of this scientifically untenable strong version of free will, Walter offers what he calls natural autonomy—self-determination unaided by supernatural powers that could exist even in an entirely determined universe. Although natural autonomy can support neither our traditional concept of guilt nor certain cherished illusions about ourselves, it does not imply the abandonment of all concepts of responsibility. For we are not mere marionettes, with no influence over our thoughts or actions.

The Unity of Mind Brain and World

The Unity of Mind  Brain and World Book
Author : Alfredo Pereira, Jr,Dietrich Lehmann
Publisher : Cambridge University Press
Release : 2013-09-12
ISBN : 1107434254
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Issues concerning the unity of minds, bodies and the world have often recurred in the history of philosophy and, more recently, in scientific models. Taking into account both the philosophical and scientific knowledge about consciousness, this book presents and discusses some theoretical guiding ideas for the science of consciousness. The authors argue that, within this interdisciplinary context, a consensus appears to be emerging assuming that the conscious mind and the functioning brain are two aspects of a complex system that interacts with the world. How can this concept of reality - one that includes the existence of consciousness - be approached both philosophically and scientifically? The Unity of Mind, Brain and World is the result of a three-year online discussion between the authors who present a diversity of perspectives, tending towards a theoretical synthesis, aimed to contribute to the insertion of this field of knowledge in the academic curriculum.

Moral Psychology

Moral Psychology Book
Author : Thomas Nadelhoffer,Eddy Nahmias,Shaun Nichols
Publisher : John Wiley & Sons
Release : 2010-10-18
ISBN : 1405190205
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings is the first book to bring together the most significant contemporary and historical works on the topic from both philosophy and psychology. Provides a comprehensive introduction to moral psychology, which is the study of psychological mechanisms and processes underlying ethics and morality Unique in bringing together contemporary texts by philosophers, psychologists and other cognitive scientists with foundational works from both philosophy and psychology Approaches moral psychology from an empirically informed perspective Explores a wide range of topics from passion and altruism to virtue and responsibility Editorial introductions to each section explain the background of and connections between the selections

The Sense of Agency

The Sense of Agency Book
Author : Patrick Haggard,Baruch Eitam
Publisher : Oxford University Press
Release : 2015-08-27
ISBN : 0190267291
Language : En, Es, Fr & De

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Book Description :

Agency has two meanings in psychology and neuroscience. It can refer to one's capacity to affect the world and act in line with one's goals and desires--this is the objective aspect of agency. But agency can also refer to the subjective experience of controlling one's actions, or how it feels to achieve one's goals or affect the world. This subjective aspect is known as the sense of agency, and it is an important part of what makes us human. Interest in the sense of agency has exploded since the early 2000s, largely because scientists have learned that it can be studied objectively through analyses of human judgment, behavior, and the brain. This book brings together some of the world's leading researchers to give structure to this nascent but rapidly growing field. The contributors address questions such as: What role does agency play in the sense of self? Is agency based on predicting outcomes of actions? And what are the links between agency and motivation? Recent work on the sense of agency has been markedly interdisciplinary. The chapters collected here combine ideas and methods from fields as diverse as engineering, psychology, neurology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind, making the book a valuable resource for any student or researcher interested in action, volition, and exploring how mind and brain are organized.