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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 59, 2018

Philosophy of Neurosciences

Michele Zanella
Pages 47-51

Neurosciences, Zombies and Free Will
An Argument against Neuroscientific Reductionism

Neuroscientific experiments concerning the free will issue seem to demonstrate that man has no free will, since all human behaviours are caused by the deterministic neuronal activity, while the mental phenomenas are mere epiphenomenal events, without any causal power. On the other hand an experimental thought about the zombie argument seems to prove that a being without self-consciousness in unable to act as we, human beings, truly act. I suggest that the two claims are not actually conflicting, since they concern different types of human decisions: the first being strictly indifferent decisions, that is to say empty of motivational content, and correspondingly on motiveless choices; the latter are decisions that involve high-level cognitive processes, such as evaluation of information, motivational analysis and elaboration of plans for action, moreover within an intersubjective framework, which can only be understood if we see ourselves as free and self-conscious agents.

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