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HomeGeneralStanford Scientist Says Humans Have No Free Will

Stanford Scientist Says Humans Have No Free Will

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Dr Robert Sapolsky
Source: Reddit

After more than 40 years of research on humans and other primates, Sapolsky concluded that all human behavior is beyond our conscious control, e.g., convulsions during an attack, cell division, or heartbeat from our heart.

This means accepting that a person shooting into a herd has no more control over his fate than victims who happen to be outside the base at the wrong time. This involves treating tank drivers who hit pedestrians the same as drivers who have a sudden heart attack and get out of the way.

Analyzing human behavior through the focus of a single teaching destroys the rationality of individuals` choices of action, he said. Determination, out today, builds on Sapolsky`s 2017 blockbuster Behave: The Science of People at Our Best and Worst, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Award and many other titles.

The book analyzes the neurochemical effects that contribute to human behavior, analyzing milliseconds, even centuries, before, for example, the pull of a trigger or the touch of a wing cue hand.

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Although it is strange for a neuron or a brain to function without the influence of variables beyond its control, Sapolsky argues that there can be no coherent space without intentionality.

Yes, Sapolsky says, both in the book and to the countless students who asked for the same address during his office hours. What students experience as a choice to embrace writing is preceded by a tangle of competing motives beyond their conscious control.

Something comparable will happen after you write, says Sapolsky. Through the same biochemical pathways, people are changed by introduction to outside occasions in ways we once in a while see coming.

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For those who advocate alternative determinism, the belief that a person, in any situation, could not act differently from what they would have done – Sapolsky`s scientific defense of causation is welcome.

Who we are and what we do are ultimately the result of factors beyond our control. Therefore, we can never be morally responsible for our actions in the sense that we deserve praise and blame, punishment and reward, said Gregg Caruso, a philosopher at SUNY Corning who read early versions of the book.

I agree with Sapolsky that living without belief in free will is not only possible but preferable. Tse, a neuroscientist at Dartmouth and author of the 2013 book The Neural Basis of Free Will, says, “However, a person can be both brilliant and completely wrong.

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Very different neural activity with identical inputs often leads to dissimilar responses in individuals and populations, Tse said. Losing all faith in free will and moral responsibility would be disastrous,” he said, and encouraging people to do so would be “dangerous, even irresponsible.

Other studies have shown that people with less control over their actions worry less about making mistakes at work and that distrust of free will leads to more aggression and less helpfulness.

Sapolsky discusses these concerns in his book, ultimately concluding that the effects observed in such experiments are too small and their reproducibility too great to support the idea We believe that civilization will collapse if we believe that we cannot control our destiny.

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