2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Free Will in the Age of Materialism
Tyler A. Young
Dr. David Murphy, Faculty Mentor

In a monist, materialist world, how is it that the mind can act on the body? It certainly appears that our beliefs, feelings, goals, and desires influence our actions, but if we are to be justified in believing this, we must have a philosophical-scientific account of how this interaction might play out in our physical bodies. Drawing on research in the mathematics and philosophy of downward causation, this presentation provides such an account, whereby we make sense of what it means for the mind to causally influence the body. We conclude that, even if it is true that in a given situation, a person's actions may be accurately predicted by considering only the neuron-level features of the brain, we may still be said to have free will. Further implications for free will in intelligent artifacts are also considered.

Keywords: free will, neuroscience, philosophy of mind, compatibilism, emergence, artificial intelligence

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion
Computer Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 44-1
Location: MG 2090
Time: 2:45

Add to Custom Schedule

   SRC Privacy Policy