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11/15/11

Who's In Charge?: Did Your Neurons Really Make You Do It?

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Free will or no free will? Benjamin Libet, John Dylan Haaynes, and so many others have weighed in on the issue. Now we have a new point of view based on new evidence. "Many neuroscientists have maintained a long-standing opinion that what we experience as free will is no more than mechanistic patterns of neurons firing in the brain. Although we feel like free agents contemplating and choosing, they would argue that these sensations are merely an emotional remnant that brain activity leaves in its wake. If these neuroscientists are right, then free will isn’t worth much discussion.

Michael S. Gazzaniga, professor and director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California at Santa Barbara, seriously disagrees.

Neuroscience provides more and more evidence for a mechanistic view of the human mind. A lot of people find that bleak and they don’t like it.Once you learn how the machine works, does that mean that you’re not responsible for your actions because your behavior may be determined? No, I don’t think it means that at all, says Gazzaniga.MoreBookmark and ShareSubscribe in a reader

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