Free Will, Agency, and the Cultural, Reflexive Brain

  • Stephen Reyna
Reference work entry


This chapter explores free will, agency, and the brain. It employs a critical structural realist (CSR) approach to assist investigators in the study of will and of the possibilities for freedom. The position is argued in three sections. First, there is a preliminary discussion of an influential modern concept of will that identifies one of its weaknesses. The section concludes with an introduction to CSR. The following section addresses this weakness by rethinking will in CSR terms as the operation of a cultural, reflexive human brain. The following section speculates upon the implications of such an understanding of will for freedom. At this juncture, a notion of agency is offered and its relevance to free will is discussed.


Anterior Cingulate Cortex Limbic System Emotional Information Posterior Cortex Cultural Category 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute of Social AnthropologyHalleGermany

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