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Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will (Understanding Complex Systems)

Edited by Nancey Murphy, George F.R. Ellis, and Timothy O'Connor
Springer, 2009

How is free will possible in light of the physical and chemical underpinnings of brain activity and recent neurobiological experiments? How can the emergence of complexity in hierarchical systems such as the brain, based at the lower levels in physical interactions, lead to something like genuine free will? A key tool in understanding how free will may arise in this context is the idea of downward causation in complex systems, happening coterminously with bottom up causation, to form an integral whole. Top-down causation is usually neglected, but is explored in depth in this book, along with the ethical and legal implications of our understanding of free will. The Top-Down Causation and Volition symposium was chaired by Christof Koch.


19, 20, and 21 April 2007

Yosemite National Park, California

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