Konuyla ilgilenenler ve kitapla ilgili fikir sahibi olmak isteyenler için Alfred R. Mele'nin "Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will" kitabından aldığım not ve alıntıları ekliyorum.
There are two main scientific arguments today against the existence of free will. One comes from neurosci-ence. Its basic claim is that all our decisions are made unconsciously and therefore not freely. The other argu-ment comes from social psychology. This time, the basic claim is that factors of which we are unaware have such a powerful influence on our behavior that no room remains for free will.
* Justifying punishment *
* Moral responsibility *
* Determinism *
"Libet believed that once we become aware of our decisions or intentions to do some-thing right away, we have about a tenth of a second to veto them; he thought free will might play a role in vetoing. As someone put it, Libet believed that although we don’t have free will, we do have free won’t."
—might have signaled a potential step along the way to a decision to flex, a step that sometimes or often doesn’t result in a decision and doesn’t result in a flexing. Again, for all we know, on some occasions—maybe many—there was a rise at time R and no associated flexing action
The task is to flex a wrist without con-sciously thinking about when to do it. If we want to know whether conscious reasoning ever plays a role in produc-ing decisions, we shouldn’t restrict our attention to situa-tions in which people are instructed not to think about what to.
First, if Libet’s participants never intended to flex when the spot reached the nine o’clock point, then his veto experiment doesn’t prove that we have the power to veto our inten-tions. And I bet they didn’t intend to flex.
Libet’s argument in a nutshell
1. The participants in Libet’s experiments don’t make conscious decisions to flex. (Instead, they make their decisions unconsciously about half a second before the muscle burst and become conscious of them about a third of a second later)
.2. So people probably never make conscious decisions to do things
.3. An action is a free action only if it flows from a con-sciously made decision to perform it.
4. Conclusion: there are probably no free actions.
According to a 2008 article by science writer Elsa Youngsteadt, “Researchers have found patterns of brain activity that predict people’s decisions up to 10 seconds before they’re aware they’ve made a choice.
The study’s participants were asked to make many simple decisions while their brain activity was measured using fMRI. Their options were always to press one or the other of two buttons.
The scien-tists say they found that “two brain regions encoded with high accuracy whether the subject was about to choose the left or right response prior to the conscious decision”
What are the scientists measuring or detecting several seconds before a button press? What is that neural activity associated with? My bet is a slight unconscious bias toward a particular button on the next press.
You press one button or the other. You do this many times while trying not to fall into any particu-lar pattern. So you’re keeping track, perhaps only in a vague way, of your past button presses. And all this activ-ity may give you a bit more of an inclination to go one way rather than the other next time—an inclination you may or may not be aware of.
Recent experiment using depth electrodes (Fried et al. 2011)
Recordings were done from the supplemen-tary motor area, an area involved in the preparation and production of bodily actions.
Two points should be made. First, given that the predictions are correct only 80 percent of the time, there’s no particular reason to believe that deter-minism is involved. Second, even if urges to press are determined by unconscious brain activity, it may be up to the participants whether they act on those urges or not.
Libet said that some of the participants in his experiments reported that they occasionally vetoed urges to flex. They said they then waited for another urge to come along before flexing. This suggests that even if an urge is determined by unconscious brain processes, those processes might not determine a corresponding action.
If the urges don’t arise out of conscious processes, they arise out of unconscious ones. But that doesn’t mean that unconscious processes dictate behavior. Fortunately, as you know very well from experience, we don’t act on all our urges.
First, there is no good reason to believe that the early brain activity the scientists detected is correlated with an early decision. Second, spontaneous picking of a button—or moment—to press is so different from decisions that seem to flow from a careful weighing of pros and cons that it’s a mistake to generalize from the alleged findings to all decisions.
Social psychologist Daniel Wegner wrote a book enti-tled The Illusion of Conscious Will.
I could have said that her conscious intention was a cause of her buying the book. As long as you don’t read “a cause” as “the cause,” that would work for me.
Wegner uses two kinds of argument for his thesis that free will is an illusion. One kind is based on Libet’s work. The other kind of argu-ment appeals to evidence about automatic actions and evi-dence of certain kinds of mistakes people make about actions.
A 2006 review article by Peter Gollwitzer and Paschal Sheeran reports that ninety-four independent tests of implementation intentions showed that they had a signifi-cant effect on behavior.
In the same vein, a significant percentage of Milgram’s participants stop shocking the learner, despite the experimenter’s instructions to continue. If behavior were driven entirely by situations, then all Milgram’s participants would have behaved the same way. (They were all in the same situation, after all.) But they didn’t.
What is the evidence for the existence of free will? That depends on what you mean by “free will.”
Let’s take a look at what some of the scientists who contend that free will is an illusion say about the meaning of “free will.”In a 2008 article in Current Biology, Read Montague writes:Free will is the idea that we make choices and have thoughts independent of anything remotely resem-bling a physical process. Free will is the close cousin to the idea of the soul—the concept that “you,” your thoughts and feelings, derive from an entity that is separate and distinct from the physical mechanisms that make up your body. From this perspective, your choices are not caused by physical events, but instead emerge wholly formed from somewhere indescribable and outside the purview of physical descriptions. This implies that free will cannot have evolved by natural selection, as that would place it directly in a stream of causally connected events.
This picture of free will is distinctly magical.
Biologist Anthony Cashmore asserts in a 2010 article that “if we no longer entertain the luxury of a belief in the ‘magic of the soul,’ then there is little else to offer in sup-port of the concept of free will”
In his 2011 book, Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain, neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga says that free will involves a ghostly or nonphysical element and “some secret stuff that is YOU” Obviously, this isn’t a report of a scientific discovery about what “free will” means; he’s telling us how he understands that expression—that is, what “free will” means to him.
I asked why some scientists say that free will doesn’t exist. Here’s a short answer: because they set the bar for free will ridiculously high.
Where should we set the bar for free will?