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Wed Jul 31, 2019, 01:43 PM

Neurocognitive basis for free will set out for the first time

From MedicalXpress:

...

Professor Thomas Hills from the Department of Psychology set out to bridge the gap between the philosophical arguments for free will and the neurocognitive realities.

In philosophy, elements of free will include the ability to do otherwise—the 'principle of alternative possibilities'; the ability to deliberate; a sense of self; and the ability to maintain goals – 'wanting what you want."

Drawing on examples from making a morning coffee to taking a penalty kick, and considering organisms from human beings, e-coli, cockroaches, and even robots, Professor Hills argues that our neurocognitive abilities satisfy these requirements through:

  1. Adaptive access to unpredictability
  2. Tuning of this unpredictability to help us reach high-level goals
  3. Goal-directed deliberation via search over internal cognitive representations
  4. A role for conscious construction of the self in the generation and choice of alternatives.


more ...


The actual paper is here

3 replies, 786 views

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Reply Neurocognitive basis for free will set out for the first time (Original post)
Jim__ Jul 2019 OP
Kurt V. Jul 2019 #1
Jim__ Jul 2019 #2
Kurt V. Jul 2019 #3

Response to Jim__ (Original post)

Wed Jul 31, 2019, 02:15 PM

1. i just read the link and not the paper but isn't he taking a philosophical approach

and not a scientific one?

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 31, 2019, 02:54 PM

2. "Professor Thomas Hills ... set out to bridge the gap between the philosophical arguments ... "

"... and the neurocognitive realities."

He does refer to both compatibilist free will and libertarian free will which I would consider philosophical terms. But then he describes the type of neural processes that would be required for each and cites the scientific literature which has experimentally found these processes. I have read the paper but haven't taken notes or read the cited references and, at this point, my best understanding is that he believes the required neural processes exist; but further testing is necessary to see if these processes are actually performing the functions that would be required.



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Response to Jim__ (Reply #2)

Wed Jul 31, 2019, 05:03 PM

3. thanks for your insight. the contingencies of human behavior interest me more than

any other subject.

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