EARLY-CAREER JOINT NEUROPHILOSOPHY-TALKS COMPETITION​

 

Round 2 Winners

Antonio Ivano Triggiani, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

 

Nick Byrd, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Stevens Institute of Technology

 

Talk title: A possible role of the posterior alpha as a railroad switcher between dorsal and ventral pathways

Suppose you are on your favorite touchscreen device consciously and deliberately deciding emails to read or delete. In other words, you are consciously and intentionally looking, tapping, and swiping. Now suppose that you are doing this while neuroscientists are recording your brain activity. Eventually, the neuroscientists are familiar enough with your brain activity and behavior that they run an experiment with subliminal cues which reveals that your looking, tapping, and swiping seem to be determined by a random switch in your brain. You are not aware of it, or its impact on your decisions or movements. Would these predictions undermine your sense of free will? Some have argued that it should. Although this inference from unreflective and/or random intention mechanisms to free will skepticism, may seem intuitive at first, there are already objections to it. So, even if this thought experiment is plausible, it may not actually undermine our sense of free will.

Jan 10th, 2023

9am~10:30am (Pacific Time)