Michael S. Gazzaniga Challenges Old Ideas about Free Will

Just to stick with Robin's theme-of-the-day of what neuroscience means for free will, here is Gareth Cook in Scientific American:

ScreenHunter_12 Nov. 20 18.06Do we have free will? It is an age-old question which has attracted the attention of philosophers, theologians, lawyers and political theorists. Now it is attracting the attention of neuroscience, explains Michael S. Gazzaniga, director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of the new book, “Who’s In Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain.” He spoke with Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.

Cook: Why did you decide to tackle the question of free will?

Gazzaniga: I think the issue is on every thinking person’s mind. I can remember wondering about it 50 years ago when I was a student at Dartmouth. At that time, the issue was raw and simply stated. Physics and chemistry were king and while all of us were too young to shave, we saw the implications. For me, those were back in the days when I went to Church every Sunday, and sometimes on Monday if I had an exam coming up!

Now, after 50 years of studying the brain, listening to philosophers, and most recently being slowly educated about the law, the issue is back on my front burner. The question of whether we are responsible for our actions — or robots that respond automatically — has been around a long time but until recently the great scholars who spoke out on the issue didn’t know modern science with its deep knowledge and implications.

More here.