Libet and the case for free will scepticism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This chapter examines what is arguably the most influential rebutting objection in the current literature, an objection that appeals to Benjamin Libet's studies concerning the neural basis of agency. Although Libet himself stopped short of endorsing free will scepticism on the basis of his results, other theorists have not been so cautious, and his work is often said to show that we lack free will. It is argued that Libet's findings show no such thing. However, Libet's experiments do raise a number of interesting and important questions for accounts of free will. In particular, Libet's experiments raise challenging questions about the analysis of the concept of free will. In order to determine whether brain science supports free will scepticism we need not only to understand the relevant brain science, we also need to understand just what the common-sense or folk notion of free will commits us to. The latter requirement may be as difficult to meet as the former one is.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFree Will and Modern Science
EditorsRichard Swinburne
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages25-46
Number of pages22
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9780191754074
ISBN (Print)9780197264898
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Agency
  • Benjamin Libet
  • Brain science
  • Common sense
  • Free will

Cite this

Bayne, T. (2011). Libet and the case for free will scepticism. In R. Swinburne (Ed.), Free Will and Modern Science (1st ed., pp. 25-46). Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264898.003.0003
Bayne, Tim. / Libet and the case for free will scepticism. Free Will and Modern Science. editor / Richard Swinburne. 1st. ed. Oxford UK : Oxford University Press, 2011. pp. 25-46
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Bayne, T 2011, Libet and the case for free will scepticism. in R Swinburne (ed.), Free Will and Modern Science. 1st edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford UK, pp. 25-46. https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264898.003.0003

Libet and the case for free will scepticism. / Bayne, Tim.

Free Will and Modern Science. ed. / Richard Swinburne. 1st. ed. Oxford UK : Oxford University Press, 2011. p. 25-46.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

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Bayne T. Libet and the case for free will scepticism. In Swinburne R, editor, Free Will and Modern Science. 1st ed. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. 2011. p. 25-46 https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264898.003.0003