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At best, Donald (2010) argued that we may feel free and that we choose our actions, but it is ultimately an illusion of being free. Donald (2010) continues to explain that our brain initiates the action, then our consciousness is informed after the fact. The empirical evidence that Donald (2010) cites is from findings of the timing of brain signals, and his findings on how unconscious influences cognition. For the brain signals evidence, Donald (2010:10) claims that “a build-up of electrical activation in the premotor cortex occurs several seconds before the observer decides to initiate a movement,” which is called the readiness potential.
At worst, Donald (2010:14) admits that there is “no evidence that would enable us to dismiss the possibility of free will and conscious choice.” This leaves us to be able to argue that we may have free will and that not everything is caused by our unconscious mind.
Position 2: The unconscious mind is free
At best, Wegner (2008) uses examples like magic. Magic draws an idea in our minds (an illusion basically), to present us with the impression that we are feely willing our actions—mental causation. Wegner (2008) explains different experiments that have influenced the principles of mental causation.
At worst, Wegner (2008) uses experiments and studies to show how the processes of the mind are used rather than actions. Like the study with the crowd of viewers watching a game and hoping for a team to either win or lose and that the viewers believed their conscious mind helped with the outcome of the game. It’
The best evidence in favor of Wegner’s (2008) claim was the study conducted about effects of priority. This provides strong support because it explains how humans manage their priorities. The study consisted of participants being given random instructions a few seconds before each movement (Wegner, 2008). This study explains how participants follow instructions, within a given time frame. Results showed how even the slightest delay in directions undermine the outcome (Wegner, 2008). This study helps explain how humans are designed to follow guidance or rules. It supports the claim that free will comes as a side effect of consciousness.
At worst, Wegner (2008) presented evidence that participants were instructed to play the role of a witch doctor. From there, they were to conduct a curse on a voodoo doll (Wegner, 2008). Once that was complete, a human victim would come into play. The human victim experienced a headache, due to the curse placed on the voodoo doll (Wegner, 2008). This evidence is weak because it does not explain how free will is a side effect. Rather it is focusing on how humans are more concerned for themselves, if they did something perhaps, to injure someone else. However, they are not worried about the injured person, but how it could have been their fault.
Position 2: Humans do not experience free will as a side effect of consciousness.
At best, Donald (2010) presented evidence explaining how brain activity “can never be the direct object of conscious experience” (Donald, 2010). Donald (2010) goes on to explain how brain activity is crucial for mental activity of any kind. This evidence is problematic to those who believe free will is a side effect of consciousness, because it explains how brain activity is crucial for any human task.
At worst, Donald (2010) conducted a study called the timing argument. In this study, participants used finger movements to evaluate their brain awareness (Donald, 2010). This provided weak evidence as it did not explain how free will was associated with this concept. It focuses more on the explanation of how brain activity works. Therefore, it is a weaker form of argument.
IN 6-7 LINES, RESPOND TO THIS TWO DISCUSSION BOARD
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