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Free will and the unconscious precursors of choice

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Benjamin Libet's empirical challenge to free will has received a great deal of attention and criticism. A standard line of response has emerged that many take to be decisive against Libet's challenge. In the first part of this paper, I will argue that this standard response fails to put the challenge to rest. It fails, in particular, to address a recent follow-up experiment that raises a similar worry about free will (Soon, Brass, Heinze, & Haynes, 2008). In the second part, however, I will argue that we can altogether avoid Libet-style challenges if we adopt a traditional compatibilist account of free will. In the final section, I will briefly explain why there is good and independent reason to think about free will in this way.
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Keywords: Compatibilism about Free Will; Neuroscience of Free Will; Reason-Responsiveness

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2012

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