University of Texas at Austin
A lecture by Dr. Daniel De Haan (Cambridge University, Post-doctoral Fellow)
This event is free and open to the public.
Has neuroscience established that free will is an illusion? Some scientists and philosophers argue that Libet-style experiments on the brain science of free will demonstrate that free will is an illusion. This neuroscience variety of free will skepticism has not gone unchallenged by the many defenders of free will. The standard scientific and philosophical criticisms of these experiments take for granted that Libet-style experiments operationalize an unproblematic conception of free will. In this talk I defend an underappreciated line of criticism that undermines all Libet-style neuroscience experiments on free will by rejecting the very conception of voluntary action and free will employed in these experiments. I argue that by rejecting the deeply confused and problematic conception of free will endorsed by most defenders and critics of these Libet-style experiments, we can free the will from poorly designed neuroscientific experiments and the confused philosophical conceptions they rely on.
Daniel D. De Haan (University of Cambridge) is a research fellow in the Faculty of Divinity and Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. He received his PhD in 2014 from the University of St. Thomas, TX and the Catholic University of Leuven. Daniel’s research in the history of philosophy focuses on the metaphysics and psychology of Avicenna and Aquinas. His research in contemporary philosophy addresses the intersections of philosophical anthropology, philosophy of neuroscience and psychology, and philosophy of religion. He is currently writing a monograph on Aristotelian philosophical anthropology