Brain, mind and free will

Did my neurons make me do it?

Don, 07.05.20 | 18:15 | Biozentrum Universität Basel,
Hörsaal 1

Are traditional notions of free choice, personal responsibility, and religious faith compatible with a neuroscientific understanding of the brain and cognition? Do my neurons determine who I am and what I do, or can I – in some meaningful sense – exert control over my neurons?  

Newsome argues that the answer to both questions is yes.  Knowledge of neurons and synapses is essential for understanding how the brain shapes cognition. But systems-level knowledge, including the level of the unique person, is essential to understand how and why specific behaviors emerge from the interactions of billions of neurons.  

This multilevel perspective offers productive ways to think about human choice and freedom that take neuroscience seriously, with the ultimate goal of enhancing human growth and health.