Libet's Experiments and Free-will Implications

2013-08-12T19:10:19Z (GMT) by John Ostrowick

The neurological experiments conducted by Benjamin Libet (1985) and Grey Walter (1993, in Dennett) provide evidence that our actions are caused by non-conscious brain events beyond our conscious awareness. Normally, we assume that our conscious choices lead us to do things. If these researchers have interpreted their evidence correctly, it may be that we lack free-will, for we could not control a non-conscious brain state. Libet however provides evidence that agents can “change their minds” just before performing some action. He felt that this was the elbow-room for free-will. But it may be incon- sistent for him to suggest this, since his evidence indicates that there is no room for conscious choice. In this paper we discuss these results and various objections to the interpretation of the work.