Understanding Free Will

If we have free will, we can consciously make decisions that are not determined by the physics and biology of our brains. It's a philosophical and religious concept that has found no support in science, despite the strong illusion that we are free. Even if we are not, belief in free will can be healthy, as long as we remain aware that many factors influence our behavior subconsciously.

Recent posts on Free Will

canstockphoto 26401185 Mandelbrot set

What Makes the Human Brain “Human?” Part 1

A quick introduction to some possible anatomical underpinnings of higher consciousness in humans and other animals.

Spring Back to Life

I like fresh starts, and I’ll use whatever is around me to make them easier. We all reinvent our lives from time to time. If you've done it before you can do it again.

Can a Caregiver Be a (Benevolent) Dictator?

Can you override a patient's request if you know it's best for them?

Explanation or Excuses for Stealing?

The criminal evaluates his evaluator.
Patty Mooney [CC BY-SA 3.0]

What Is Consciousness?

What would it take to make a robot experience a dream?
Bill Davidow

Why Dogs Don’t Use The Internet

What we can learn from dogs about managing the internet.

Myth: "As Soon As"

There can be a lot of ideas floating around in our mind that aren’t actually true. They are a series of stories, excuses, justifications, rationalizations, and procrastination.

Brain Dynamic Patterns and the Mind

The mystery of consciousness is approached from several materialistic or dualistic perspectives. Brain activity patterns play a critical role; could the patterns be fractals?

Useful Fictions: Why Beliefs Matter

By Sandeep Gautam on March 06, 2017 in The Fundamental Four
Believing in false things sometimes makes sense. Free will appears to be such a construct.

So You Want to Be Happy? OK, But Consider This...

Research suggests that you should carefully evaluate your positive experiences. Those that you do not control can relate to negative outcomes.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

A brain region known as the basal ganglia appears to be important in treating and understanding obsessive compulsive disorder.

The timing of free will

By Marc Wittmann Ph.D. on February 18, 2017 in Sense of Time
Why the famous Libet task does not touch on our notion of free will.
Paul Nunez

Are Some Scientists Serious About Denying Free Will?

A brief look at the issues of consciousness and free will.

Sex and its Divine Nature

Why does our sexual appetite come and go? Is sex an activity that brings pleasure because it nurtures our ego? Or is it the opposite? Is sex so good because it disrupts our ego?
Can Stock Photo Inc. /Alexmit, used with permission

Could a Zombie Be Elected President?

Can philosophical zombies tell us something about the deep mystery of consciousness?

Speaking of Marriage

How often does it happen that partners decide to put the couple before themselves as individuals?

Why Does Rape Happen?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on February 01, 2017 in Media Spotlight
How are victim blaming, sexual objectification, and sexual scripting linked to sexual assault? New research explores this disturbing question
Paul Nunez

Is the Brain More Than the Sum of Its Parts?

Emergence: How can a brain be more that just a bunch of interacting nerve cells?
Paul Nunez

The New Science of Consciousness

What can complexity science tell us about consciousness?

Truth Is Like Poetry and Most People Hate Poetry

By Maggie Rowe on January 22, 2017 in Sin Bravely
Why do we misread The Road Not Taken? Can we not handle the truth?

Radical New Discoveries Are Turning Neuroscience Upside Down

By Christopher Bergland on January 12, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
New discoveries are changing the way neuroscientists view how subcortical brain regions (including the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and brainstem) interact with the cerebral cortex.

Social Defeat Wreaks Havoc on Brain Circuitry, Study Finds

By Christopher Bergland on January 10, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
A new study using state-of-the-art technology has pinpointed how bullying and social defeat can alter the functional connectivity between cortical and subcortical brain regions.

How Psychoanalysis and Behaviorism Helped Create Advertising

By Allen J Frances M.D. on January 09, 2017 in Saving Normal
How America became a "shop until you drop" culture.

Your New Year’s Resolution, Eight Days Later

By Dorothy Firman Ed.D. LMHC, BCC on January 08, 2017 in Living a Life of Purpose
As the new year comes rolling in, making our resolutions from the truth of our inner knowing, the heart centered New year's Resolutions, will turn us towards a deeper Truth.
K. Ramsland

Dangerous Minds

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on January 08, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
On a trip to Paris to visit the places where writers worked out ideas, I was reminded of the benefits of sustained discussions of ideas.

There’s No Such Thing as "You Made Your Bed, Now Lie in It"

Anyone who insists that you must forever stay with your original choices is asking you to remain frozen in time.

We Change When We are Ready, Not a Minute Sooner

By Wendy Lustbader M.S.W. on January 01, 2017 in Life Gets Better
What makes us change, if not deciding to do so? It turns out that we make changes when we have to, not when we want to.

A Message for Artists -- and for the Artist in Everyone

By Kimerer LaMothe Ph.D. on December 31, 2016 in What a Body Knows
Art is not a luxury. In the wake of the 2016 election in the United States, making and appreciating art of all kinds is more important than ever. It is vital to our humanity.

The Misinterpretation of Libet and Our Man in Alaska

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on December 27, 2016 in Statistical Life
How does consciousness control action?

On Hope, Hopelessness, Suicide, and Freedom

By Neel Burton M.D. on December 25, 2016 in Hide and Seek
Even in a state of utter hopelessness, we can find happiness.