Free will strikes back

The point of no return in vetoing self-initiated movements, published at PNAS by german researchers Matthias Schultze-Krafta, Daniel Birmana et al. brings evidence that people can stop ‘spontaneous’ movements even after brain is ready to execute this.

Even if it is the case that brain activity is ready as-if movement decision from 0,5 to a few seconds before awareness, conscious will may overrule this readiness and block movement as late as 200 ms before action.

Free will is on constant attack.  Apparently as soon as men were able to reason they sought scape goats.  Fate, wrath of gods, astrology, determinism, historical materialism, psychologism, providence, so on always look for arguments for their case.

Following contemporary trend, recent neurological studies are used in this debate.  If brain activity preceded awareness of some movements, our conscious ‘decisions’ would not be such at all.  Not only it was not conscious, since action was triggered before us being aware, arguably it was not our decision to begin with; ‘mere’ synaptic determinism.

Above mentioned researches focus on simpler processes when compared to typical free will debate, such as moral and social options.  Nothing of the sort about other decision making, from choosing one’s socks to dress to moral or political issues.

Read their research and their engineous approach to the matter.