A metaphysical impasse is arrived at yet again: The pure ‘physicists’ (Coel and his ilk) contra the pure ‘metaphysicists’ (Aravis and his ilk).

To the rest of us, somewhere in between, it seems that both sides are missing something: both perspectives are necessary. It is the task of each one of us to strike the right balance. In other words, we are all scientists and metaphysicians. My own preference is that the way forward is via a better understanding of consciousness, i.e. ourselves – a kind of humanism.

Scientia Salon

81lyH-va9ELby Julian Baggini

[This is an edited extract from Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will, University of Chicago Press. Not to be reproduced without permission of the publisher.]

We’ve heard a lot in recent years about how scientists — neuroscientists in particular — have “discovered” that actions in the body and thoughts in the mind can be traced back to events in the brain. In many ways it is puzzling why so many are worried by this. Given what we believe about the brain’s role in consciousness, wouldn’t it be more surprising if nothing was going on in your brain before you made a decision? As the scientist Colin Blakemore asks, “What else could it be that’s making our muscles move if it’s not our brains?” And what else could be making thoughts possible other than neurons firing? No one should pretend that we understand exactly how it…

View original post 3,074 more words

Advertisements