The Neural Time — Factor in Perception, Volition and Free Will

  • Benjamin Libet
Part of the Contemporary Neuroscientists book series (CN)


We should all agree that the brain and the mind are intimately linked. One need only drink some wine to remind one of the physicochemical controls of mental function, acting via the brain. And one need merely decide at will to flick a finger, or not to flick it, at any time one wishes to do so, to demonstrate thet a mental event can apparently « order » the brain to produce an action. Yes this kind of prima facie evidence of a mutually causative interaction between mental and cerebral processes has been subjected to an immense amount of philosophical analyses and arguments over its « true » basis. These ranged from materialist views of conscious mental functions as meaningless epiphenomena to dualist, spiritualistic views of a separable mental entity with an ability to control neural function. Althought a causative role for conscious mental processes is readily accommodated within a dualist interactionist theory of mind and brain (e.g. Popper and Eccles, 1978) it has also been argued within the framework of a monist determinist theory (e.g. Sperry, 1980).


Sensory Experience Conscious Experience Sensory Cortex Stimulus Train Conscious Control 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

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  • Benjamin Libet

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