The illusion of conscious will

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Philosophy
Topics: 
Free Will
Keywords: 
conscious will, confabulation, dual process
Deposited by: 
Dr Peter Carruthers
Date of Issue: 
2007
Authors: 
Peter Carruthers
Volume: 
96
Abstract: 
Wegner (2002) argues that conscious will is an illusion, citing a wide range of empirical evidence. I shall begin by surveying some of his arguments. Many are unsuccessful. But one an argument from the ubiquity of self-interpretation is more promising. Yet is suffers from an obvious lacuna, offered by so-called ‘dual process’ theories of reasoning and decision making (Evans and Over, 1996; Stanovich, 1999; Frankish, 2004). I shall argue that this lacuna can be filled by a plausible a priori claim about the causal role of anything deserving to be called ‘a will’. The result is that there is no such thing as conscious willing: conscious will is, indeed, an illusion.
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