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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Neuroscience and Free Will: New study debunks Libet’s interpretation

By Justin Caouette
A Philosopher's Take
Originally published August 10, 2012

The interconnection of neuroscience and free will has many researchers trying to make bold claims about their findings. In my last post I called Sam Harris’ conclusion that “free will is an illusion” into question. Specifically, I suggested that there were competing interpretations that could be made from the data that neuroscientist Benjamin Libet was using to debunk free will (I mentioned Al Mele’s interpretation as a counterexample to Libet’s). Finally, some neuroscientists seem to have considered Mele’s suggestion (though interestingly I read no reference to Mele) and did some science to test his alternative interpretation. It turns out that Mele was right,and in turn, that Libet was a bit hasty with his conclusion, as was Sam Harris. Click here for the New Scientist article detailing the study. So it seems that the criticisms I levied against Harris might have more sticking power as a result. Seems that Libet has been debunked and not free will. Below you’ll find some central points directly taken from the New Scientist article.

The entire article is here.
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