Round 1 Winners

Elisabeth Parés-Pujolràs, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

University College London

Robyn Waller, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Iona College

Talk title: Toward Naturalistic Paradigms of Agency

Voluntary control of behavior requires the ability to dynamically integrate internal states and external evidence to achieve one’s goals. However, neuroscientific studies of intentional action and critical philosophical commentary of that research have taken a rather narrow turn in recent years, focussing on the neural precursors of spontaneous simple actions as potential realizers of intentions. In this session, we show how the debate can benefit from incorporating other types of experimental approaches, focussing on agency in dynamic contexts.

September 30th, 2021

10:00 AM ~ 11:30 AM (PDT)

Kristina Krasich, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Duke University

Samuel Murray, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Duke University

Talk title: Free will over time: Distinguishing top-down and now-then control

Self-control is a central aspect of free will. Because self-control is often described in terms of resisting temptations, research on the cognitive neuroscience of free will often focuses on mechanisms of top-down regulation. We argue that this obscures a crucial temporal dimension of free will: now-then regulation. We distinguish now-then regulation from top-down regulation, and situate now-then regulation within a broader account of temporally extended agency. In highlighting this temporal dimension of control, we aim to provide a more nuanced account of how motivation informs action over time, different kinds of regulatory processes underlying the planning and execution of action, and the temporal components of reasons-responsiveness.

November 17th, 2021

9:00 AM ~ 10:30 AM (PDT)

Jake Gavenas

PhD Student

Chapman University

Polaris Koi

PhD Student

University of Turku

Talk title: Free will beyond spontaneous volition: Conscious control processes of
inhibition and attention in self-control and free will

Polaris Koi (Philosophy) and Jake Gavenas (Neuroscience) begin the seminar by arguing that agentive control is the key requirement for free will, drawing on folk-philosophy findings to support this claim (Gavenas et al., in prep). They explore how two executive control processes that functionally involve consciousness—inhibition and top-down control of attention—connect self-control and free will.

February 15th, 2022

11:00 AM ~ 12:30 PM (PST)