Please take this survey!
Hello all! If you all could take a moment to respond to my new survey, that would be great! I really need responses to all the questions! Go HERE for the survey! It’s only ten questions long and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. It won’t even cost you money! While you are on my website to get to the survey, maybe you should check the rest of it out if you haven’t already!
I am both signal-boosting and incredibly interested in the results. Here’s hoping they get a good and varied sample (I worry that only a certain population of people will take the survey, and thus the results won’t actually be able to make as sweeping of a claim as we may hope for.)
But the information concerning what he was doing was not broadly available to his mind. That’s important, because he wasn’t able to control his behaviour in the light of all his beliefs. He responded automatically, without being able to ask himself whether he valued what he was doing.
A whole range of information which would normally have stopped him (screams, the sight of blood, his mother-in-law’s terrified face) couldn’t interact with the mechanisms causing his actions.
The Canadian court found Parks not guilty on the charge of murder (an acquittal later upheld by the Supreme Court). I think they were right to do so.
Neuroscience provides evidence that in the absence of consciousness, we can’t control our behaviour in the light of our values. And that’s a good reason to excuse us.—
What does it mean when you unconsciously kill someone?
One of the funniest parts of the free will vs input/output machine debate is that if we are indeed input/output machines, then we technically have no control over the debate itself. The input/output machine result is especially interesting if that is the true answer but the debate results in supporting free will, as this would mean we are predestined to believe in free will, and have no freedom in whether or not we believe in that concept.
There have been many studies looking for the roots of free will, the illusion of free will, and even the neurological system which triggers to produce the illusion of free will (namely a study which claimed the neuronal trigger for a behavior occurred prior to the “conscious decision” to perform said behavior.)
At the very least I think we can assess cases like the ones presented in the linked article along the lines of a spectrum of consciousness, and that indeed the example given is one where the assailant had no higher conscious awareness of his actions, and thus is difficult to prosecute as he would not have committed the crime if he were awake. I would worry that this opens a dangerous door for sleepwalking to become the go-to defense for people, but there was enough supporting evidence for his consciousness abnormality that it would actually be rather difficult for a “working as intended” individual to utilize his defense.
Though as alluded to: does this mean the debate for free will isn’t a binary one? Perhaps there is a sliding scale of free will, and we happen to land on one part of it. This opens up the possibility of other animals and organisms to lie below us on the scale as we so commonly believe, but it also opens up the possibility of other organisms (either known or unknown) to lie further ahead of us on the free will spectrum if there is such a place (who knows, if the spectrum exists we very well may be sitting at an end point).