Home > Philosophy > Free Will? Or Free Won’t?

Free Will? Or Free Won’t?

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Here’s a very short clip of the famous Libet experiment on free will.

The clip gives you a quick idea of Libet’s theory, sans the crucial implications: a concept referred to as the power of veto, or, “free won’t.”

In Libet’s experiment, it is shown that the gradually increasing neuronal signal activates before the person feels the conscious “will” to act. This would imply that consciousness is a by-product of physical mental processes (that can be measured).

However, Libet does not fully commit to a world in which we have no power in decision. Through a similar set of experiments, Libet determined that although we cannot consciously control impulses, we can prevent them from being acted out. This is his “free won’t.”

There are innumerable criticisms of Libet’s theory, aiming to show the flaws of the experimentation procedure and the erroneous philosophical implications of his work. Nevertheless, it is invaluable research in a field of which everybody has a different explanation.

Read more on free will and consciousness:


Categories: Philosophy
  1. November 18, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Interesting. I think I’ll make my next blog post about free will vs. determinism

  2. RW
    November 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Compatibilism vs. incompatibilism, perhaps.

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