Neuroscience vs Philosophy: Is free will an illusion?

Gene will be the main host for this topic. Here's his writeup:

Neuroscientists have argued, largely on the basis of the results of a few experiments, that free will is an illusion.

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110831/full/477023a.html

Sam Harris also argues that free will is an illusion in a very recent book.

http://www.amazon.com/Free-Will-Sam-Harris/dp/1451683405/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339343142&sr=8-1&keywords=free+will

However, some philosophers think that there is a mistake being made here, and that many scientists are confused about the concept of free will.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/is-neuroscience-the-death-of-free-will/

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/19/what-makes-free-will-free/

I will give an overview of the issue, and discuss the scientific work and the philosophical approach to free will. No preparatory reading is necessary, but the Stanford encyclopedia reading is worthwhile.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/

 

More resources on free will and determinism can be found in this discussion:


http://www.meetup.com/Seattle-Analytic-Philosophy-CLUB/messages/boards/thread/24511652

 

 

 

 

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  • A former member
    A former member

    The presentation focused on touching various topics and it was fast paced. It was hard to be w/ the speaker and understand all the concepts discussed.
    The structure of the presentation didn't facilitate the speakers view very well. However the discussion post the presentation was very engaging and informative.

    The speaker seemed knowledgeable, however the presentation delivery should be well paced and interactive so that people can follow what is being discussed. It snot OK to rush several concepts when half of them are not understood.

    July 18, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    (Because of my southern background, history of applied propositional calculus and math; and my mental slowing because of age - and my hearing aids, I hear best older people who speak more deliberately and clearly.) ... The current status of nerve impulse measurement is fascinating. ... However Webster's says "illusion (is) action of mocking (or) being intellectually misled"; which is not the same as being ignorant (unless it is ignorance of word meaning). Hillbillies and antiquated engineers are often ignorant but unromantic and rarely misled. I suggest that all living entities are unique because of heredity and experiences. Therefore they will always react differently to the same stimuli. However this difference is often so undectably subtle that a romantic might be misled into believing it is magic.

    July 18, 2012

  • Kip M

    Can't make it this time... I was soooo looking forward to this topic too!

    July 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks Ted,
    I'll be wearing a yellow check shirt w/ a khakhi trouser. I have long hair so easy to identify :)

    July 17, 2012

  • Ted

    Arpit - I can give you a ride back to Seattle. I have on a blue, white & black striped shirt - come and grab me at the meeting if you'd like the ride.

    Theo

    July 17, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Will anyone be leaving post the meetup back to Seattle? I need a ride. Looks like there is no bus post 7PM back to Seattle? Or a ride to the Mercer P&R will also be much appreciated..
    Arpit

    July 17, 2012

  • Kip M

    Patricia Churchland gives a talk which I think gives some good background overviews to help in having a broader understanding of the issue of free will ("Philosophy in the Age of Neuroscience": http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0D43FD1231528FF6). I'm looking forward to tomorrow's discussion.

    July 16, 2012

  • Gene L

    If possible please try to be there by 7PM. We will be starting promptly as there is a lot of material to cover and there needs to be ample time for discussion.

    July 15, 2012

  • Christopher A.

    Great idea to move the location to make space for the rest of us, I look forward to the discussion.

    July 11, 2012

  • Gene L

    Per Victor, the location has been changed to Mercer Island Library which has more space, so there is now room for everyone on the waiting list.

    July 11, 2012

  • Gene L

    For those of you who have read Sam Harris's book, here is a link to a very negative review by Eddy Nehmias, who is an experimental philosopher who is known for his work on free will. http://www.thephilosophersmagazine.com/TPM/article/view/15359/12081

    July 5, 2012

  • Gene L

    My last two posts in the forum thread (linked above) may be of general interest to those attending the meetup.

    July 5, 2012

  • Victor M.

    The August meetup will be at the Mercer Island Library which has a larger space and is more centrally located for many people. The topic will be announced after the free will meetup.

    July 4, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Lake forest is a bit far for me but I really want to discuss this Harris book and topic. Hope nothing comes up to conflict with it.

    June 17, 2012

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