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Effective IntentionsThe Power of Conscious Will$
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Alfred R Mele

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195384260

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384260.001.0001

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Neuroscience and Causes of Action

Neuroscience and Causes of Action

Chapter:
(p.49) THREE Neuroscience and Causes of Action
Source:
Effective Intentions
Author(s):

Alfred R. Mele (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384260.003.0003

This chapter defends two theses: first, Benjamin Libet's data do not justify his assertion that “the brain ‘decides’ to initiate [certain actions] before there is any reportable subjective awareness that such a decision has taken place”; second, an alternative interpretation of his findings is better supported by the data. Libet's data are examined in light of findings about reaction times and some familiar distinctions: for example, the distinction between potential causes of intentions and intentions themselves.

Keywords:   action, causation, decision, Benjamin Libet, reaction time

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