Thursday, October 09, 2014

Free Will or Self-Control? Patricia Churchland

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Patricia Churchland is the author, most recently, of Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality (2012) and Touching a Nerve: Our Brains, Our Selves (2013). The latter book is the basis for her talk on free will, while the former is the basis for her 2014 Copernicus Center Lecture.

I am not at all a fan of Churchland's reductionist materialism. Still, I find her work interesting and thought-provoking, if only in how her beliefs can be refuted.

Free Will or Self-Control? Patricia Churchland

Copernicus Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
Published on Oct 6, 2014


Patricia Churchland’s research focuses on the interface between neuroscience and philosophy. Although many philosophers used to dismiss the relevance of neuroscience on grounds that what mattered was “the software, not the hardware”, increasingly philosophers have come to recognize that understanding how the brain works is essential to understanding the mind.

Patricia Churchland explores the impact of scientific developments on our understanding of consciousness, the self, free will, decision making, ethics, learning, and religion and issues concerning the neurobiological basis of consciousness, the self, and free will, as well as on more technical questions concerning to what degree the nervous system is hierarchically organized, how the difficult issue of co-ordination and timing is managed by nervous systems, and what are the mechanisms for the perceptual phenomenon of filling-in.
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Patricia Churchland, The Brains Behind Morality (2014 Copernicus Center Lecture)

Copernicus Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
Published on Oct 2, 2014



2014 Copernicus Center Lecture was delivered by Patricia Churchland, a well-acclaimed Canadian-American philosopher noted for her contributions to neurophilosophy and the philosophy of mind.

Patricia Churchland’s research focuses on the interface between neuroscience and philosophy. Although many philosophers used to dismiss the relevance of neuroscience on grounds that what mattered was “the software, not the hardware”, increasingly philosophers have come to recognize that understanding how the brain works is essential to understanding the mind.

Patricia Churchland explores the impact of scientific developments on our understanding of consciousness, the self, free will, decision making, ethics, learning, and religion and issues concerning the neurobiological basis of consciousness, the self, and free will, as well as on more technical questions concerning to what degree the nervous system is hierarchically organized, how the difficult issue of co-ordination and timing is managed by nervous systems, and what are the mechanisms for the perceptual phenomenon of filling-in.

Copernicus Center Lecture 2014 was held on May 22 in the Auditorium at the Larisch Palace (Faculty of Law and Administration, Jagiellonian University, Bracka Str. 12, Kraków).

Copernicus Center Lectures is a series of lectures found by Copernicus Center with participation of the best scholars of our times. In previous years Copernicus Center Lectures were delivered by Francisco Ayala, sir Roger Penrose, Joseph LeDoux, George Ellis and Michael Heller.

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