The question of whether or not human beings possess free will is a source of much contention, particularly between neuroscientists and philosophers. A new study pitted humans against a computer to test whether our conscious decisions are actually determined by unconscious processes. Perhaps, the premise suggests, we…
Embodied cognition theory states that our thoughts and emotions are profoundly affected by our physical bodies. A new study takes this idea further, claiming that our bodily states — particularly when they're urgent — can even influence our metaphysical beliefs.
Do we have free will? If we don't, we're one step down the metaphysical ladder from fruit flies. Yes, people have determined that fruit flies have free will. And yes, the experimental fly chamber they created to find this out is really freaking weird.
Does free will actually exist? Or are we all just puppets to physics or biochemistry or some other form of determinism? A great essay over in Slate argues that free will is real, and that it evolved for a reason.
Our modern understanding of reality is based on some fundamental concepts: that the world around us is tangible, that the theory of relativity holds, that cause and effect works as we'd expect, and that humans have free will. But take quantum theory at face value, and it turns out the four can't co-exist together.
Buridan's Ass is one of the oldest insults in existence. It has been consistently used to make fun of a particular worldview — one that doesn't allow for free will. But this notion gained new relevance, when we started making little electronic Buridan's Asses, which had to come to terms with the problem on more than…
Humans have debated the issue of free will for millennia. But over the past several years, while the philosophers continue to argue about the metaphysical underpinnings of human choice, an increasing number of neuroscientists have started to tackle the issue head on — quite literally. And some of them believe that…
Let's say you're approaching a fork in the road, and at the very last minute you decide to take the right fork. Common sense says that you made at active decision to take the right fork — a decision you made more or less a split second before you shifted your body ever so slightly in the direction of said fork.
Fruit flies and other simple organisms might seem like they're creatures of instinct, governed by a set of basically predictable stimuli and responses. But fruit flies actually have free will. Depending on what your definition of free will is.
Last week, humanity saw two minutes of our future, in the FlashForward series premiere. But can they alter their fates, or are they set in stone? We look at other premonitions and flashforwards from science fiction for clues.