The neuroscientific foundations of free will

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The issue of free will is at the heart of understanding ourselves, what it means to be a conscious, thinking, and responsibly acting human being. A position on this issue has profound implications on how we see ourselves as moral agents and on our place in the universe. The developments in neuroscience over the last half century have provided us with much data concerning the function of the brain and its relationship to the mind. In this article we shall review contributions of both neurosurgeons and other neuroscientists to our understanding of free will. The volitional motor model will be emphasized for heuristic purposes. Ultimately, by understanding the limits of our freedom, we can enhance our concept of the meaning of our lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-23
Number of pages21
JournalAdvances and technical standards in neurosurgery
Issue number37
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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