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Free Will Matters
Patricia Churchland


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Target Article

Biophysical Models of Human Behavior: Is There a Place for Free Will?
Renato Teodoro Ramos

This article proposes a recontextualization of the conception of free will in terms of social events rather than in mental experiences. My objective is to demonstrate that the behavior of human social groups composed of individuals freely interacting among each other exhibits well-defined patterns that can precisely be described by a physics formalism. Although not directly approaching the nature ...

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Diminishing and Enhancing Free Will
Walter Glannon

Free will consists in the capacity to initiate and execute plans of action. It involves the capacity to respond to reasons and control how our motivational states issue in our actions. Neurological and psychiatric disorders can diminish this capacity by causing dysfunction in the neural networks that mediate it. But brain abnormalities do not necessarily compromise free will. Pharmacological, surg...

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How the Neuroscience of Decision Making Informs Our Conception of Autonomy
Gidon Felsen & Peter B. Reiner

Autonomy, the ability to make decisions for ourselves about ourselves, is among the most prized of human liberties. In this review we reconsider the key conditions necessary for autonomous decision making, long debated by moral philosophers and ethicists, in light of current neuroscientific evidence. The most widely accepted criteria for autonomy are that decisions are made by a rationally deliber...

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Including Emotionality in Tests of Competence: How Does Neurodiversity Affect Measures of Free Will and Agency in Medical Decision Making?
Robin Mackenzie & John Watts

Medical decision making by patients is respected as a lawful exercise of free will and agency unless patients are found to lack “competence.” Yet measures of competence in medical decision making typically assess only cognitive abilities. Emotionality is involved in decision making and may affect how far patients’ decisions to accept or refuse medical treatment embody free will. Moreover, ne...

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