Description : In contrast with philosophers who use logic rather than data to argue whether mental causation or consciousness can exist given unproven first assumptions, Peter Ulric Tse proposes that we instead listen to what neurons have to say. In this BIT, Tse examines the role of physical/informational criteria in the neuronal model of mental causation and free will.
Description : The issues of mental causation, consciousness, and free will have vexed philosopherssince Plato. In this book, Peter Tse examines these unresolved issues from a neuroscientificperspective. In contrast with philosophers who use logic rather than data to argue whether mentalcausation or consciousness can exist given unproven first assumptions, Tse proposes that we insteadlisten to what neurons have to say. Because the brain must already embody a solution to themind--body problem, why not focus on how the brain actually realizes mental causation? Tse draws on exciting recent neuroscientific data concerning how informationalcausation is realized in physical causation at the level of NMDA receptors, synapses, dendrites,neurons, and neuronal circuits. He argues that a particular kind of strong free will and "downward"mental causation are realized in rapid synaptic plasticity. Recent neurophysiological breakthroughsreveal that neurons function as criterial assessors of their inputs, which then change the criteriathat will make other neurons fire in the future. Such informational causation cannot change thephysical basis of information realized in the present, but it can change the physical basis ofinformation that may be realized in the immediate future. This gets around the standard argumentagainst free will centered on the impossibility of self-causation. Tse explores the ways that mentalcausation and qualia might be realized in this kind of neuronal and associatedinformation-processing architecture, and considers the psychological and philosophical implicationsof having such an architecture realized in our brains.
Description : Are humans free, or are we determined by our genes and the world around us? The question of freedom is not only one of philosophy’s greatest conundrums, but also one of the most fundamental questions of human existence. It’s particularly pressing in societies like ours, where our core institutions of law, ethics, and religion are built around the belief in individual freedom. Can one still affirm human freedom in an age of science? And if free will doesn’t exist, does it make sense to act as though it does? These are the issues that are presented, probed, and debated in the following chapters. A dozen experts―specialists in medicine, psychology, ethics, theology, and philosophy—grapple with the multiple and often profound challenges presented by today’s brain science. After examining the arguments against traditional notions of free will, several of the authors champion the idea of a chastened but robust free will for today, one that allows us still to affirm the value of first-person experience.
Description : Questions concerning free will are intertwined with issues in almost every area of philosophy, from metaphysics to philosophy of mind to moral philosophy, and are also informed by work in different areas of science (principally physics, neuroscience and social psychology). Free will is also a perennial concern of serious thinkers in theology and in non-western traditions. Because free will can be approached from so many different perspectives and has implications for so many debates, a comprehensive survey needs to encompass an enormous range of approaches. This book is the first to draw together leading experts on every aspect of free will, from those who are central to the current philosophical debates, to non-western perspectives, to scientific contributions and to those who know the rich history of the subject. Its 61 chapters, commissioned especially for this volume from the world’s leading researchers, are framed by a General Introduction and briefer introductions for each of the six sections. A list of References, an annotated Suggested Reading list, and a short list of Related Topics are included at the end of each chapter.
Description : We all seem to think that we do the acts we do because we consciously choose to do them. This commonsense view is thrown into dispute by Benjamin Libet's eyebrow-raising experiments, which seem to suggest that conscious will occurs not before but after the start of brain activity that produces physical action. Libet's striking results are often claimed to undermine traditional views of free will and moral responsibility and to have practical implications for criminal justice. His work has also stimulated a flurry of further fascinating scientific research--including findings in psychology by Dan Wegner and in neuroscience by John-Dylan Haynes--that raises novel questions about whether conscious will plays any causal role in action. Critics respond that both commonsense views of action and traditional theories of moral and legal responsibility, as well as free will, can survive the scientific onslaught of Libet and his progeny. To further this lively debate, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Lynn Nadel have brought together prominent experts in neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and law to discuss whether our conscious choices really cause our actions, and what the answers to that question mean for how we view ourselves and how we should treat each other.
Description : What makes our brain a brain? This is the central question posited in Unlocking the Brain. By providing a fascinating venture into different territories of neuroscience, psychiatry, and philosophy, the author takes a novel exploration of the brain's resting state in the context of the neural code, and its ability to yield consciousness.
Description : A fascinating cornucopia of new ideas, based on fundamentals of neurobiology, psychology, psychiatry and therapy, this book extends boundaries of current concepts of consciousness. Its eclectic mix will simulate and challenge not only neuroscientists and psychologists but entice others interested in exploring consciousness. Contributions from top researchers in consciousness and related fields project diverse ideas, focused mainly on conscious nonconscious interactions: 1. Paving the way for new research on basic scientific - physiological, pharmacological or neurochemical - mechanisms underpinning conscious experience ( bottom up approach); 2. Providing directions on how psychological processes are involved in consciousness ( top down approach); 3. Indicating how including consciousness could lead to new understanding of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, dementia, and addiction; 4. More provocatively, but still based on scientific evidence, exploring consciousness beyond conventional boundaries, indicating the potential for radical new thinking or quantum leaps in neuroscientific theories of consciousness. (Series B)"