Do you still have free will when your unconscious mind is in charge?

Dr. Uri Maoz

Have you ever arrived at your destination with no memory of the journey that got you there? Your unconscious mind has been at work. Does that mean we don't always have free will over our actions and decisions? And what does that tell us about the brain?

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Have you ever arrived at your destination with no memory of the journey that got you there? Your unconscious mind has been at work. Does that mean we don't always have free will over our actions and decisions? And what does that tell us about the brain?

Free will and whether or not we have it has been a topic that has set philosophers going for millennia, but it's only recently that scientists have entered the fray too.

We experience ourselves as very free, and think that whether we act or not is completely up to us. But the reality is, no mechanism for this kind of freedom is known to science.

Uri Maoz has dedicated his career to answering the question Do we have free will?, not through philosophy but by looking at the brain and human behaviour. He's Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience at Chapman University in the US, and runs a large, international project that brings neuroscientists and philosophers together to investigate free will. Now, he's joining us in The Garden to help us understand what the cutting edge of science tells us about whether we're really as free to make decisions as we think we are.

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Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

Collection

The Unconscious Mind

About the Fellow

Dr. Uri Maoz

Uri is a neuroscientist at Chapman University in the US, where he uses experiments and computer programmes to understand how the brain makes decisions, and what that tells us about whether we have free will.

Thank you notes from Garden members

The Unconscious Mind Collection

The unconscious mind is a vast unmapped territory of feelings, thoughts, urges and memories that sit just outside our awareness. Luckily, our intrepid Garden Fellows are at the forefront of exploring it, and they're taking you with them on the journey.