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

T. Mairunteregger

Seligman on Tour

Is "prospection" the newest and holiest of grails in psychology? Seligman: "Yes." We: "No."

Reclaiming Human Dignity

Have you experienced religiously-based abuse or violence? This post explores the ideological basis for Judeo-Christian patterns of aggression.

Freedom

What does freedom really mean?

Inside the Mind of The 'Celebrity' Serial Killer Ian Brady

...why this serial killer never garnered the media attention that others... did, include the fact, unlike the 'Moors Murderer', Trevor Hardy did not have a catchy nick name...
pixabay.com

Guilty, With an Explanation

The increasing use of neuroscience in behalf of criminal defendants with "defective" brains raises a perennial question: how do we define responsibility and 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.
3Dman:shutterstock

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.
TracySiermachesky/Shutterstock

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.