Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Neural Basis of Free Will: Criterial Causation by Peter Ulric Tse (MIT Press, 2013)

By Stephen L. Macknik | August 12, 2013
Scientific American Book Review

Here are two excerpts:

If our universe is deterministic in this way there can be no free will because you were destined to make that same decision—every single one of your decisions—from the very moment of the big bang. It’s not that you don’t make decisions: you do. But you’ll make them the same exact way in two different universes that have identical big bangs. It means that the universe conspired from its very inception to bring you and your significant other together. It’s quite romantic, actually, so long as you’ve been fortunate enough to have a nice life. But if not, you’re truly screwed, and the universe has been literally plotting your demise for the last 14 billion years.


Tse has thought through this enormous problem and realized something important that brings free will back to the realm of the living. Remember that determinism is an unavoidable fact of the universe at the macroscopic but not the quantum level. Well what if the macroscopic universe is not deterministic because the brain is designed to amplify quantum level particle effects to the macroscopic level through the action of specialized neuronal channels that make decisions potentially truly stochastic?

The entire story is here.
Post a Comment