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Entries in free will (4)

Saturday
Oct102009

"Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?" with Warren Brown (BSP 62)

W-Brown-150 Episode 62 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Warren Brown, PhD, co-author (with Nancey Murphy) of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will. This book was discussed in detail back in Episode 53, but this interview gave me a chance to discuss some of the book's key ideas with Dr. Brown. We focused on why a non-reductive approach is needed in order to formulate ideas about moral responsibility that are consistent with our current neurobiological understanding of the mind.

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Saturday
Sep262009

Books and Ideas Podcast #30: Tom Clark on Naturalism

TomClark-150 Episode 30 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Tom Clark, the head of the Center for Naturalism and author of Encountering Naturalism: A Worldview and Its Uses. I first became aware of Clark's work when I reviewed Chris Evatt's book The Myth of Free Will back in Episode 12.

In this interview we talk about naturalism as a world view and examine its implications for important questions like free will and morality. Naturalism is a world view that is based on using the scientific method to discover the truth about the world. It rejects supernatural explanations. Clark explains that this means that naturalism rejects the idea of contra-causal free will but that it embraces a more compassionate approach to personal responsibility.

We also talked about Clark's review of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will by Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown. I discussed this book in Episode 53 of the Brain Science Podcast and its co-author Warren Brown will be my guest on next month's Brain Science Podcast (Episode 62).

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Episode Transcript (Download PDF)

 

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LINKS:

 


REFERENCES:


RELATED PODCAST EPISODES:


  • Episode 12 (Books and Ideas): Discussion of The Myth of Free Will, edited by Chris Evatt.

  • Episode 53 (Brain Science Podcast): Discussion of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will by Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown

  • Episode 62 (Brain Science Podcast): Interview with Warren Brown.

 

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Episode Transcript (Download PDF)

 

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Sunday
Jan182009

Neuroscience and Free Will (BSP 53)

bsp-300-hi Episode 53 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will by Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown. This book challenges the widespread fear that neuroscience is revealing an explanation of the human mind that concludes that moral responsibility and free will are illusions created by our brains. Instead the authors argue that the problem is the assumption that a physicalist/materialistic model of the mind must also be reductionist (a viewpoint that all causes are bottom-up). In this podcast I discuss their arguments against causal reductionism and for a dynamic systems model. We also discuss why we need to avoid brain-body dualism and recognize that our mind is more than just what our brain does. The key to preserving our intuitive sense of our selves as free agents capable of reason, moral responsibility, and free will is that the dynamic systems approach allows top-down causation, without resorting to any supernatural causes or breaking any of the know laws of the physical universe. This is a complex topic, but I present a concise overview of the book's key ideas.

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Episode Transcript (Coming Soon)


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Tuesday
Jul172007

Does Free Will Exist? (B&I 12)





This episode is my response to the The Myth of Free Will (2007), which was sent to me by the book's editor Cris Evatt. I felt the topic was very relevant to my recent discussions on the Brain Science Podcast, where we have been exploring the evidence that a surprising amount of decision-making occurs beyond our conscious control.

Listen to Books and Ideas #12 Now

I have tried to include some interesting references and links below, but I hope you will share more links (especially good blogs) at the new Brain Science Podcast Forum, which is located at http://brainscienceforum.com. I have set aside a section under "Off-Topic Discussions" for discussions about Books and Ideas.

The subject of free will is quite controversial. This episode is intended to stimulate thought and discussion, rather than to convince you that I have the answers.

Show Notes

The difference between political and psychological free will

Can a non-physical soul or spirit be controlling our brain's decisions?

Naturalism (What is Naturalism? by Thomas W. Clark founder of The Center For Naturalism)

What about choice and responsibility?

What does neuroscience have to say about free will?

Partial List of Writers Whose Work I discuss

References and Further Reading

Why Choose This Book?: How We Make Decisions (2006) by Read Montague (Dr. Montague was interviewed on the Brain Science Podcast #15.)

The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them (2003)
by Owen Flanagan

Freedom Evolves (2003) by Daniel C. Dennett

Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (1994) by Francis Crick

Links of Interest

Center For Naturalism

The Garden of Forking Paths-A philosophy blog devoted to agency theory, including related issues in Philosphy of Action, Moral Psychology, Metaphysics and Ethics

I will try to expand this list in the future.