Free Will: Philosophers and Neuroscientists in Conversation

Uri Maoz and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (editors)


Oxford University Press

What is free will? Can it exist in a determined universe? How can we determine who, if anyone, possesses it? Philosophers have debated the extent of human free will for millennia. In recent decades neuroscientists have joined the fray with questions of their own. Which neural mechanisms could enable conscious control of action? What are intentional actions? Do contemporary developments in neuroscience rule out free will or, instead, illuminate how it works? Over the past few years, neuroscientists and philosophers have increasingly come to understand that both fields can make substantive contributions to the free-will debate, so working together is the best path forward to understanding whether, when, and how our choices might be free

This book contains thirty bidirectional exchanges between neuroscientists and philosophers that focus on the most critical questions in the neurophilosophy of free will. It mimics a lively, interdisciplinary conference, where experts answer questions and follow-up questions from the other field, helping each discipline to understand how the other thinks and works. Each chapter is concise and accessible to non-experts-free from disciplinary jargon and highly technical details-but also employs thorough and up-to-date research from experts in the field. The resulting collection should be useful to anyone who wants to get up to speed on the most fundamental issues in the rising field of the neurophilosophy of free will. It will interest experts from philosophy or neuroscience who want to learn about the other discipline, students in courses on a host of related topics, and lay readers who are fascinated by these profound issues.