De controversiële erfenis van Benjamin Libet

Vrije wilsceptici en hun critici over het belang van Libet-type experimenten in het debat over vrije wil en verantwoordelijkheid

auteur Jan Verplaetse
tijdschrift Panopticon (ISSN: 771-1409)
jaargang Jaargang | Volume 35
aflevering Issue 2. March / April 2014
onderdeel Artikel | Article
publicatie datum 3 maart 2014
taal Dutch
pagina 106
keywords Libet-type experiments, verantwoordelijkheid, responsibility, Libet-type experimenten, free will, vrije wil

The controversial legacy of Benjamin Libet. Free will skeptics and their critics on the importance of Libet-type experiments in the free will and responsibility debate
To most legal scholars free will is an indispensable philosophical assumption underlying our penal law system. Since the 1980s Libet-type experiments (LT) aim to criticize this assumption by showing that unconscious brain processes instead of conscious and deliberative thoughts actually initiate our decisions. Here, after summarizing the main findings, we review three branches of criticism: (a) methodological considerations, (b) objections made by philosophy of science, and (c) metaphysical remarks relating to moral and legal consequences. At the end of this critical review we discuss the possible impact of these neuropsychological investigations on the foundations of penal law.

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