Brain and Free Will

  • John C. Eccles


That we have free will is a fact of experience. Furthermore, I state emphatically that to deny free will is neither a rational nor a logical act. This denial either presupposes free will for the deliberately chosen response in making that denial, which is a contradiction, or else it is merely the automatic response of a nervous system built by genetic coding and molded by conditioning. One does not conduct a rational argument with a being who makes the claim that all its responses are reflexes, no matter how complex and subtle the conditioning. For example, one should not argue with a Skinnerian, and moreover a Skinnerian should not engage in argument. Discourse becomes degraded into an exercise that is no more than conditioning and counter-conditioning—what we may characterize as Skinnerian games!


Corpus Callosum Motor Cortex Pyramidal Cell Basket Cell Dominant Hemisphere 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Eccles
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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