Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Enactivist InterventionsRethinking the Mind$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Shaun Gallagher

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794325

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794325.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2020

Action and the Problem of Free Will

Action and the Problem of Free Will

(p.132) 7 Action and the Problem of Free Will
Enactivist Interventions

Shaun Gallagher

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the concept of free will as it is discussed in philosophy and neuroscience. It reviews reflective and perceptual theories of agency and argues against neuro-centric conclusions about the illusory nature of free will. Experiments conducted by Benjamin Libet suggest that neural activations prior to conscious awareness predict specific actions. This has been taken as evidence that challenges the traditional notion of free will. Libet’s experiments, arguably, are about motor control processes on an elementary timescale and say nothing about freely willed intentional actions embedded in personal and social contexts that involve longer-term, narrative timescales. One implication of this interpretation is that enactivism is not a form of simple behaviorism. Agency is not a thing reducible to elementary neuronal processes; nor is it an idea or a pure consciousness. It rather involves a structure of complex relations.

Keywords:   free will, reflection, Benjamin Libet, motor control, behavior

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .