Philosophy TV Managing Editors

David Killoren (Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University)

Jonathan Lang (Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness, University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Al Mele and Eddy Nahmias

Al Mele and Eddy Nahmias on free will and science.

Mele and Nahmias start by explaining how they first became seriously interested in the relationship of free will to science. Then (12:44) they discuss the infamous Libet experiments, which are often interpreted as evidence that our conscious decisions are determined by earlier nonconscious brain activity, along with a range of other experiments in neuroscience that also bear on issues concerning human free agency. Next (25:31) they consider general worries that underlie neuroscientific investigations of free will. Then (41:28) they discuss whether (and how) results in social psychology could undermine free human agency. After that, they discuss future prospects for scientific investigation of free will (46:14), including Mele’s (exceptionally generous) Templeton-sponsored grants. They conclude (53:55) with some reflections on the definition of free will.

The deadline for the Philosophy of Self-Control grant applications is Sept. 1, 2014.

Related works

by Mele:
Free: Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will (2014)
A Dialogue on Free Will and Science (2014)
Effective Intentions: The Power of Conscious Will (2009)

by Nahmias:
“Is Free Will an Illusion? Confronting Challenges from the Modern Mind Sciences” (2014)
“A Naturalistic Vision of Free Will” (2014)
“Defining Free Will Away” (2012)
“Why ‘Willusionism’ Leads to ‘Bad Results’: Comments on Baumeister, Crescioni, and Alquist” (2011)
“Intuitions about Free Will, Determinism, and Bypassing” (2011)
“Autonomous agency and the threat of social psychology” (2007)
“Agency, Authorship, and Illusion” (2005)