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Is free will an illusion? Krista Tippett hosts a discussion about the mind and morality

Is free will an illusion? Krista Tippett hosts a discussion about the mind and morality

On Being, the Peabody-award winning radio show about the human condition, hosts a conversation between Michael McCullough, professor of psychology, and Arthur Zajonc, physicist, about morality and the ways our practices and thoughts may shape our morality.

Tippett and her guests discuss morality, the mind, and quantum mechanics as they gently debate predetermination, mechanistic morality, and the nature of free will.

The entire episode is archived on their site (audio | transcript) along with video of the discussion.

BBC4’s “A History of Ideas” has a short video on free will and the Libet experiment, which suggests that we move and act before our brain has generated the idea.

Did you enjoy the conversation? What would you add?


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Tobias Haller

I’ve never bought into the Libet experiment because it seems to confuse will with consciousness and awareness and reaction. These are really different though related things. I’m perfectly happy to believe that the freedom of the will begins in a subconscious reality that is shaped by more conscious levels of reaction.

One could, of course, also posit a purely spiritual reality that guides the whole organic mechanism, the results of which only show up in the nerves after the decision has been taken on the spiritual plane. No experiment can verify this, or disprove it, so it remains a matter of faith.

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