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Mind, Brain, and Free Will$
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Richard Swinburne

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199662562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199662562.001.0001

Free Will

Chapter:
(p.174) 7 Free Will
Source:
Mind, Brain, and Free Will
Author(s):

Richard Swinburne

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199662562.003.0008

Contrary to language-of-thought theory and in agreement with connectionism, there could not be causal laws relating types of particular conscious events to types of particular brain events, but only ones relating total conscious states to total brain states. Conscious events include events of innumerable different kinds (all totally different in nature from brain events) which cannot be measured on common scales; and no human at a given time has the same brain state as any human ever, or the same conscious state when considering difficult moral decisions. So no total determinisitic theory of which brain events cause and are caused by which conscious events could have enough evidence in its favour to be well justified. Hence we should believe that things are as they seem—that when we make difficult moral decisions we have free will. Neuroscience can show the influences on us, but cannot predict individual decisions.

Keywords:   connectionism, free will, neuroscience, moral decisions, language-of-thought theory

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