Neurology – An Attack on Free Will

Whereas medical advances, important as they are, deal with our bodies, neuroscientific discoveries promise – or threaten – to reveal the structure and functioning of our minds and therefore our soul….And there really seems to be a sense in which neuroscience (and the other sciences of the mind) is stripping back the mysteries of the mind in sometimes disturbing ways, threatening our notion of ourselves as autonomous, rational, and moral beings.

– Neil Levy, Philosopher

What if neuroscience can one day show how behavior  arises from causal, physical events in the brain? Would that dethrone our belief of free will and moral responsibility? While it is nothing new that human decision-making is purely mechanical and predetermined by certain environmental factors, it certainly helps to explain why people do certain things (sometimes unconsciously).

In a way, this is true as nobody can control over the genes they inherited, their economic background, or their mental and physical capabilities. In other words, they would always be a bias even before a human being makes his/her mind what to do to whom.

Even though neuroscience may hold the answer to explaining why we do what we do, it changes nothing. It is likely that the basis of our legal institutions would not factor in a person’s psyche for a crime commited or we take into account a person’s background for the things that he/she do. Yet bear in mind that our free will is not so free after all.

Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains

-Rousseau

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