Tag determinism

Found: Altruism Brain Cells

Brain cells that fire only when monkeys act unselfishly may provide clues to the neural basis of altruism, according to a new study. In the study, the cells fire in rhesus monkeys when they gave juice away, but not when they received it. The findings, published Dec. 23 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, may shed light on why many animals (including humans) exhibit kind, unselfish behavior that doesn’t directly benefit them.

Language – who’s choosing my words?

I find this amazing. Language. I can have a 45 minute conversation with a friend. Neither of us consciously think up individual words. Our word choices (even as I am typing this) are non-consciously chosen. At 150 words a minute, that’s a lot of words decided upon non-consciously. I generally appear to be listening to my own words when they come out.

Gregg Caruso’s “Free Will and Consciousness” Reviewed

I recently came across Gregg Caruso’s book Free Will and Consciousness: A Determinist Account of the Illusion of Free Will. Gregg dropped me a line after coming across my blog and we got chatting. I have not read this book yet, but it seems to ally itself pretty strongly with my first book, Free Will?. Below is a review by Andrei A. Buckareff of Marist College. The book is aimed at academics in the field, but seems accessible to anyone with a working knowledge of the free will discipline. I said I’d post the review for him. Check it out:

My last talk is now a podcast: “Free Will?”

My last public talk which I gave, on free will, has now been made into a podcast which can be heard here. The talk, given to Portsmouth Skeptics in a Pub on 14th June 2012, was a nice informal gathering of about 50-odd people of varying skeptical persuasions. I have not listened to it yet, but the Q and A was an interesting and challenging time with some good questions which I think I dealt with pretty well.

Free Will: “We are influenced, but not determined” – the 80-20% approach as nonsense

One of the most common defences of Libertarian Free Will (or contra-causal free will) is what I sometimes term the 80-20% approach. Most people, to some degree or another, accept that our lives are at least somewhat, and in most cases, a good deal influenced. This may be by genetic, biological or environmental factors. But it is hard to deny that, at the point of making a decision, we aren’t having our decision influenced by external or internal motivators. This is expressed often as a claim like ”Well, we are influenced quite a bit, but we still have some degree of free will” or “I think we are 80% determined, but 20% of our decision-making is freely willed”.