Is Free Will an Illusion? IT SEEMS OBVIOUS to me that I have free will. When I have just made a decision, say, to go to a concert, I feel that I could have chosen to do something else. Yet many philosophers say this instinct is wrong. According to their view, free will is a figment of our imagination. No one has it or ever will.
China brain China brain In the philosophy of mind, the China brain thought experiment (also known as the Chinese Nation or Chinese Gym) considers what would happen if each member of the Chinese nation were asked to simulate the action of one neuron in the brain, using telephones or walkie-talkies to simulate the axons and dendrites that connect neurons. Would this arrangement have a mind or consciousness in the same way that brains do? Early versions of this argument were put forward in 1974 by Lawrence Davis and again in 1978 by Ned Block. Block argues that the China brain would not have a mind, whereas Daniel Dennett argues that it would. JCS, Journal of Consciousness Studies Critical Reviews The complete text from which these are extracted is available. See also Editorial: The Future of Consciousness Studies Over the last few years, research into consciousness has at last become accepted within the academic community. As John Searle puts it, raising the subject of consciousness in cognitive science discussions is no longer considered to be ``bad taste'', causing graduate students to ``roll their eyes at the ceiling and assume expressions of mild disgust.'' But why are we interested in consciousness?
Column: Why you don't really have free will Perhaps you've chosen to read this essay after scanning other articles on this website. Or, if you're in a hotel, maybe you've decided what to order for breakfast, or what clothes you'll wear today. The debate about free will, long the purview of philosophers alone, has been given new life by scientists, especially neuroscientists studying how the brain works.
The Chinese Room Argument 1. Overview Work in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has produced computer programs that can beat the world chess champion and defeat the best human players on the television quiz show Jeopardy. AI has also produced programs with which one can converse in natural language, including Apple's Siri. Our experience shows that playing chess or Jeopardy, and carrying on a conversation, are activities that require understanding and intelligence.
Connectome A connectome* is the complete map of the neural connections in a brain. It is sometimes referred to as a “wiring diagram” of the molecular connections between neurons, trading on the analogy of a brain to an electronic device, where axons and dendrites are wires and neuron bodies are components. Depending on the scientist, the term connectome may or may not also include learning-relevant molecular states at each synaptic connection (the "synaptome") and any learning-relevant changes in the nucleus of each neuron (the "epigenome"). At the level of whole brains, there can be fly connectomes, mouse connectomes, human connectomes, whale connectomes, and so on.
Free Will and the Brain Do we have free will? It is an age-old question which has attracted the attention of philosophers, theologians, lawyers and political theorists. Now it is attracting the attention of neuroscience, explains Michael S. Gazzaniga, director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of the new book, “Who’s In Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain.” He spoke with Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook. Cook: Why did you decide to tackle the question of free will?
Qualia 1. Uses of the Term ‘Qualia’ (1) Qualia as phenomenal character. Consider your visual experience as you stare at a bright turquoise color patch in a paint store. There is something it is like for you subjectively to undergo that experience. What it is like to undergo the experience is very different from what it is like for you to experience a dull brown color patch.
MindPapers: Contents Search tips There are two kinds of search you can perform on MindPapers: All fields This mode searches for entries containing the entered words in their title, author, date, comment field, or in any of many other fields showing on MindPapers pages. Entries are ranked by their relevance as calculated from the informativeness of the words they contain and their numbers. Jerry Coyne on free will by Massimo Pigliucci As readers of this and of my Chicago University colleague Jerry Coyne’s blog know all too well, Jerry and I rarely see eye to eye, and seldom have any compunction in letting the world know about our disagreements. This is yet another example, which actually covers a topic that has been debated recently at Rationally Speaking. The reason I’m taking up free will again is because Jerry recently published an op-ep piece in USA Today confidently assuring his readers that they “don’t really have free will.” I think many of Jerry’s assertions are unfounded, and for interesting reasons. Jerry starts out by teasing his readers about their alleged choice of reading his editorial (from which, of course, one deduces that he had no choice about writing it either), and continues: “So it is with all of our other choices: not one of them results from a free and conscious decision on our part.
Zombies First published Mon Sep 8, 2003; substantive revision Thu Mar 17, 2011 Zombies in philosophy are imaginary creatures used to illuminate problems about consciousness and its relation to the physical world. Unlike those in films or witchraft, they are exactly like us in all physical respects but without conscious experiences: by definition there is ‘nothing it is like’ to be a zombie. Yet zombies behave just like us, and some even spend a lot of time discussing consciousness. Few people think zombies actually exist.