Free Will and the Brain

Does neuroscience have anything meaningful to say about whether people have free will? Gene Callahan says no, but that cannot be right. It is possible that science will one day provide powerful evidence that the brain and body function in a perfectly deterministic manner. That discovery would leave little opening for free will. (If free will entails no more than a correspondence between our desires and our actions, then obviously there is no problem reconciling it with physical determinism. But that is not, I wager, what most people mean by free will.)

Whether that discovery will be made is of course a separate question. But that it could be made is enough to refute Callahan’s contention.

2 comments on “Free Will and the Brain

  1. “It is possible that science will one day provide powerful evidence that the brain and body function in a perfectly deterministic manner.”

    This would make no difference at all. You are thinking of this as a “free will of the gaps” problem, which is a mistaken way to look at it.

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