The Seven Liberal Arts

The Seven Liberal Arts

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Free Will Does Exist

We get irked that the ancients tainted their science with philosophy, yet today make the equal error of tainting our philosophy with science. Then let us take the ancient wisdom and the modern science, the best of both worlds, and venture onwards. There's an article floating around proclaiming that free will doesn't exist, but that we should believe in it anyway. Most of it talks about how detrimental (or in some small ways beneficial) a belief in determinism is, while resting on the assumption that 'science has disproved' free will. This large but scarcely discussed claim comes whence: 
"Many scientists say that the American physiologist Benjamin Libet demonstrated in the 1980s that we have no free will. It was already known that electrical activity builds up in a person's brain before she, for example, moves her hand; Libet showed that this buildup occurs before the person consciously makes a decision to move. The conscious experience of deciding to act, which we usually associate with free will, appears to be an add-on, a post hoc reconstruction of events that occurs after the brain has already set the act in motion."

That is, there is something bringing forth a decision before the conscious decision… which sounds a lot like what we would call the subconscious. Basically, it is saying that we do not have free will because we subconsciously make decisions before consciously doing so.