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The Neural Basis of Free WillCriterial Causation$
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Peter Ulric Tse

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019101

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019101.001.0001

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Overview of Arguments

Overview of Arguments

(p.11) 2 Overview of Arguments
The Neural Basis of Free Will

Peter Ulric Tse

The MIT Press

This chapter explores the classical debates regarding mental causation and free will, even those that existed before neuroscience came about. It begins at the most fundamental physical level by reviewing evidence of the reality of an ontologically indeterministic universe. Although a nonindeterministic form of local randomness alone would suffice for the main argument concerning what neurons do, this is where most of the arguments in this book are based. The central philosophical argument opposing the logical possibility of mental causation is challenged here, with a counterargument stating that the core argument of physical reductionists against the possibility of mental causation rests on the impossibility of self-causation; if determinism were the case, then these arguments would indeed be correct, and mental causation and a “strong free will” would be logically ruled out.

Keywords:   mental causation, free will, neuroscience, ontologically indeterministic universe, physical reductionists, impossibility of self-causation, strong free will

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