Around the Web#4: Is Free-Will an Illusion?

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What exactly is “free-will”? Richard Swinburne explains that usually our desires and beliefs determine what we will do. However, sometimes we need to choose a course of action from among conflicting desires and beliefs:

(Note that Swinburne’s view of free-will is consistent with the Christian doctrine of the Fall, which teaches that our desires and moral beliefs have fallen into disorder.)

However, Sam Harris and other materialists have argued that free will is an illusion.  Alvin Plantinga responds to Harris here.  Christian philosopher Tim O’Connor explains the experiments that seem to undermine free-will :

Peter Clarke points out that the famous Libet experiments have not established that our “decisions” take place in the brain before we are aware of them in an excellent Faraday Paper.

Former Professor of Geriatric Medicine and philosopher (and atheist) Raymon Tallis argues passionately for the reality of free will and insists that we shouldn’t blame the brain for our behaviour:

(Tallis is a fascinating writer; he explains here why the mind and the brain are not identical.)

Finally, Tim O’Connor gives his response to Libet-type experiments:



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