New neuroscience findings: Free will is back in town?
|August 8, 2012||Posted by News under Mind, Neuroscience, News|
This is different. In “Brain might not stand in the way of free will” (New Scientist, 08 August 2012), Anil Ananthaswamy reports ,
“Libet argued that our brain has already decided to move well before we have a conscious intention to move,” says Schurger. “We argue that what looks like a pre-conscious decision process may not in fact reflect a decision at all. It only looks that way because of the nature of spontaneous brain activity.”
So what does this say about free will? “If we are correct, then the Libet experiment does not count as evidence against the possibility of conscious will,” says Schurger.
Cognitive neuroscientist Anil Seth of the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, is impressed by the work, but also circumspect about what it says about free will. “It’s a more satisfying mechanistic explanation of the readiness potential. But it doesn’t bounce conscious free will suddenly back into the picture,” he says. “Showing that one aspect of the Libet experiment can be open to interpretation does not mean that all arguments against conscious free will need to be ejected.”
No, but this is in New Scientist, mind you, and they’d be pretty swift to embrace any arguments against free will that they thought they could sustain.