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Conscious Will and ResponsibilityA Tribute to Benjamin Libet$
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Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Lynn Nadel

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.001.0001

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Libet on Free Will: Readiness Potentials, Decisions, and Awareness

Libet on Free Will: Readiness Potentials, Decisions, and Awareness

Chapter:
(p.23) Chapter 3 Libet on Free Will: Readiness Potentials, Decisions, and Awareness
Source:
Conscious Will and Responsibility
Author(s):

Alfred R. Mele (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.003.0004

Benjamin Libet contends both that “the brain ‘decides’ to initiate or, at least, prepare to initiate [certain actions] before there is any reportable subjective awareness that such a decision has taken place” and that “if the ‘act now’ process is initiated unconsciously, then conscious free will is not doing it.” He also contends that once we become conscious of our proximal decisions, we can exercise free will in vetoing them. This chapter provides some conceptual and empirical background and then discusses three major problems regarding Libet's findings.

Keywords:   Benjamin Libet, free will, readiness potential, practical deciding

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