Free Will group photo taken at the Sigtuna Foundation 27 June 2017

Agora Conference on Free Will

Sigtuna Foundation, 25-28 June 2017 

The question of free will is among the most contested and long-lasting in philosophy, theology, legal scholarship, and other fields. Over recent decades, neuroscientists have joined this debate, following results by Libet and others purporting to show that consciousness might not be part of the causal chain leading to action. We have learned much about the neural processes underlying decision-making and action formation since the original Libet studies were published. More recent studies undeniably address some of the criticism against the original Libet studies but, at the same time, also raise new questions and strengthen existing concerns. We think that it is high time to take stock of the current state of the field, see where present challenges lie, and what are some promising pathways ahead.

We are therefore organizing a 3-day conference devoted to the study of volition, which will be held at the Sigtuna Foundation (www.sigtunastiftelsen.se) near Stockholm, Sweden—from the afternoon of June 25 until noon, June 28, 2017. We bring together scholars who are specifically interested in this topic and combine formal presentation sessions with informal meetings and discussions. The conference includes presentations by neuroscientists as well as by philosophers specifically interested in working with neuroscientists , and arrange plenty of time for discussions on these questions.

One session, on Free Will and Law, is open to the public. This session is at 9 – 12 on Wednesday, 28 June. Anyone interested in attending this session should contact and/or register at the Reception at the Sigtuna Foundation.

The conference program is available here: AgoraFreeWillConference-program170621.

The conference abstracts are available here.

The conference is co-organized by Assist. Prof. Uri Maoz (UCLA, Caltech, Chapman University) and Prof. Hans Liljenström (SLU, Agora for Biosystems)

Conference venue and accommodation: 

Sigtunastiftelsen, Manfred Björkqvists allé 2-4, 193 22 Sigtuna. Phone: +46-(0)8-592 589 00,  Email: info@sigtunastiftelsen.se, Web: www.sigtunastiftelsen.se

Information about Sigtuna, a small town about 15 km from Stockholm Arlanda airport, can be found here: http://destinationsigtuna.se/en

Videos of talks at the conference are linked to below in alphabetical order (of speakers):

  • Welcome and Introduction  by Alf Linderman, Hans Liljenström, and Uri Maoz
  • Peter Århem: “Could an Amoeba Have Acted Otherwise?”
  • Hans Braun: “Determinism, Randomness and the Question of the Free Will”
  • Björn Brembs: “The Neurobiology of Arbitrary Decisions in Invertebrates”
  • Patrick Haggard: “New Approaches to Volition and Agency”
  • Mark Hallett: “The Brain and Freedom”
  • John-Dylan Haynes: “Neuroscience and Free Will: Beyond Choice Prediction”
  • Pamela Hieronymi (Skype): “Four Thoughts for Neuroscience of Decision-Making”
  • Gabriel Kreiman: “Neurons Don’t Play Dice”
  • Oliver Li: “‘Source Incompatibilism’ as a Viable Alternative in Relation to Scientific Research About Free Will”
  • Hans Liljenström: “Intentionality and Decision Making – A Computational Approach”
  • Ingrid Malm Lindberg: “C.S. Peirce and Abductive Inference: The Relation between Imagination, Neuroscience and Free Will”
  • Alf Linderman and Tom Burns: Introduction to Social Aspects and “Human Consciousness and Free Will – The Perspective of Social Systems Theory”
  • Uri Maoz: “Randomness, Competition, and Implicit Learning”
  • Alfred Mele: “Free Will and Neuroscience: On Generalising and on Souls”
  • Michael Moore: “Neuroscience’s Epiphenomenal Challenge to Responsibility”
  • Stephen Morse: “Hope or Hype: The Promise of Law & Neuroscience”
  • Liad Mudrik: “Neural Precursors of Decisions That Matter – an ERP Study of Deliberate and Arbitrary Choice”
  • Timothy O’Connor: “The Neuroscientist’s Activity and the Neuroscientific Image”
  • Dennis Patterson: “Proceed with Caution”
  • Thomas Pink: “Freedom as a Power”
  • Paavo Pylkkänen: “Free Will and Quantum Theory”
  • Anne Runehov: “Free Will, Responsibility and Moral Evil”
  • Aaron Schurger: “Fifty Years Without Free Will”
  • Walter Sinnot-Armstrong (Skype): “A Contrastivist Solution to the Problem of Mental Causation”
  • Håkan Snellman: “Consciousness and Free Will in Natural Science”
  • Petra Stoerig: “Free Will in the Footlights”
  • Peter Tse: “The Neural Causation Underlying Mental Causation is Criterial, not Newtonian”
  • Sebo Uithol: “‘Closet Cognitivism’ and Where Our Actions Really Come From”
  • Till Vierkant: “Do Conscious Deliberate Decisions Exist?”
  • Aku Visala: “Do Neuroscientific Models Entail Determinism?”

Panel Discussions with Responses: 

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