Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will? - NYTimes.com

Or, as Isaac Bashevis Singer used to like to say, we have to believe in free will; we don't have any choice.

Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will? - NYTimes.com

I find Eddy Nahmias' argument persuasive: "free will" does not depend on a "soul" or any other kind of self outside the brain, and is not incompatible with recognizing that all previous events are involved in shaping new ones (determinism). And like any good philosophical argument, his opens up new questions. One that interests me especially is how unconscious racism can influence conscious actions. And that suggests the further question, how to curb such tendencies, that is, how can our conscious decisions change our unconscious or pre-conscious predispositions? Can we train ourselves to respond "instinctively" in new ways?

Yes, of course we can, and we have all done it at some time — whether learning a new language, giving up (or taking up) smoking, setting ourselves a new exercise routine, or changing driving habits, etc. The fact that we can and do make such changes demonstrates (or at least implies) that our free will can change our "determined" decisions, that is, set new preconscious tendencies. New neuroscience investigations should help us understand how we do this and to do it better.


How we remember

This experiment confirms what we already suspected: regarding the "ghost story", memory adjusts the past to fit what we think should have happened; regarding the sunken ships, memory also hooks past events to other already imagined or known events, which will be different for each person who is remembering.

How Psychology Solved The Mystery Of A Lost Shipwreck : NPR