The biology of freedom

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Presentation on the neurobiology of behavioral freedom and free will.

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  • Daniel Wegner, The Illusion of Conscious Will (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002).Ted Honderich, How Free Are You (Oxford, Oxford U. Press, 2002)Richard Double, The Non-Reality of Free Will (New York, Oxford U. Press, 1991)Saul Smilansky, Free Will and Illusion (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2002)Derk Pereboom, Living Without Free Will (Cambridge, Cambridge U. Press, 2001)Nancy Murphey and Warren S. Brown, Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? (Oxford, Oxford U. Press, 2007)
  • The biology of freedom

    1. 1. Freedom in biology: Selectingtherightactionattheright time<br />Björn Brembs<br />Freie Universität Berlin<br />http://brembs.net<br />
    2. 2. ‘Free Will’ does not exist<br />
    3. 3. CartesianDualism<br />
    4. 4. Interactionism<br />
    5. 5. Dualism<br />Noempiricalsupport<br />
    6. 6. Reductionism<br />“Mental states are always brain states, meaning physical states”<br />Hans Flohr, neurobiologist<br />
    7. 7.
    8. 8. Behavioral Freedom<br />“We could often have done otherwise than we in fact did”<br />Searle 1984<br />
    9. 9. Behavioral Freedom<br />“I could have done otherwise”<br />Taylor & Dennett 2002<br />
    10. 10. Behavioral Freedom<br />“If we choose to remain at rest, we may; if we choose to move, we also may.”<br />David Hume<br />
    11. 11. Behavioral Freedom?<br />
    12. 12. Behavioral Freedom?<br />
    13. 13. Behavioral Freedom?<br />
    14. 14. Behavioral Freedom?<br />
    15. 15. Evitability<br />“The freedom of the will consists in the impossibility of knowing actions that still lie in the future.”<br />Ludwig Wittgenstein<br />
    16. 16. Evitability<br />Behavioral freedom is always situational!<br />
    17. 17. DrosophilaTurningBehavior<br />28.09.2011<br />Björn Brembs, Freie Universität Berlin<br />17<br />Behavioralvariability in a constantstimulussituation: actions, not responses!<br />
    18. 18. DrosophilaTurningBehavior<br />28.09.2011<br />Björn Brembs, Freie Universität Berlin<br />18<br />Behavioralvariability in a constantstimulussituation: actions, not responses!<br />
    19. 19. Sakkade<br />Basislinie<br />DrosophilaTurningBehavior<br />
    20. 20. Choice ornoise?<br />Decisionsornoise in a complexsystem?<br />
    21. 21. Inter-Saccade-Intervals(ISIs)<br />Flies as random number generators?<br />All computations by Alexander Maye, UKE Hamburg (Maye et al. 2007)<br />Choice or Noise?<br />
    22. 22. Choice or Noise?<br />Geometric Random Inner Products: GRIP<br />All computationsby Alexander Maye: Maye et al. (2007)<br />
    23. 23. Choice or Noise?<br />
    24. 24. Attractorof a non-linear system<br />
    25. 25.
    26. 26.
    27. 27. Chance andNecessity!<br />
    28. 28. Human Free Will<br />
    29. 29. Spontaneity<br />Whataretheevolutionaryadvantagesofspontaneousbehavioralvariability?<br />
    30. 30. Inevitability: C-Start Responses<br />
    31. 31. The RisksofInevitability<br />
    32. 32. Pursuit-evasioncontests& competition (courtship, predator-prey, territoriality, chess, sports etc.)<br />
    33. 33. Exploration (find thathiddenresourceyouwouldotherwisenever find.)<br />
    34. 34. General brainfunction<br />Action – Outcome Evaluation<br />
    35. 35. Many Brains<br />Scott E Page<br />Groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers<br />http://www.pnas.org/content/101/46/16385.long<br />

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