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The notion of Free Will has been debated at least since the days of Aristotle, and the proper identification of what this human sensation really is or how it works remains far from our grasp.
However, a recent fascinating study from Angela Sirigu at CNRS Cognitive Neuroscience Centre in Bron, France was published in Science that discovers a possible bread crumb as to how our brain processes what we sense as Free Will. The research uses direct cortical stimulation in awake patients undergoing surgery to identify areas in the brain that seem to directly link to one’s “desire” to move an arm or a tongue and to the actual sensation of movement… even when no actual movement of a limb occurred.
Pulling a direct connection from this work to the observation of Free Will is like pulling a magic rabbit out of a top hat. Free Will as we personally sense it is so much more than a causal relationship between one neural network in the brain telling another neural network to do something else. In fact, it seems that this very description of direct causality is the antithesis of what Free Will might be.
Free Will is more like … well, it’s more like … Of course, if I could complete this sentence then I would be considered more brilliant than 2300+ years of human thinkers. But, it is certainly a real sensation than human beings have, which is why we’ve been talking about it for so long. It’s a complicated sensation and one that can only emerge from a complicated computational network like our brain.
“Possible site of free will found in brain” :: NewScientist :: May 7, 2009 :: [ READ ]
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