The limits of the neuroscience of moral responsibility

Autores

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5007/1677-2954.2021.e79816

Palavras-chave:

Neuroethics, Free will, Moral responsibility, Benjamin Libet

Resumo

The findings of the neuroscientist Benjamin Libet are among the most discussed in moral philosophy. They present a clear challenge to the notion of intentional action as a consciously chosen action. According to them, the awareness of the decision to act by the subjects of his studies came only after the moment of preparedness of the action in our brains, called “readiness potential”. Many, including Libet, saw these results as an evidence that we do not have free will nor moral responsibility. The aim of this article is to criticize the claim that moral responsibility would be in danger because of the Libet’s findings. First, the concept of free will as intentional action will be explained in order to understand how the notion of being conscious in deciding when and how to act is relevant. Then, the findings from Libet’s experiments and the argument of how they could be a challenge to the notions of free will and of moral responsibility are presented. At the end, it will be argued that the notion of moral responsibility involves more than psychological capacities, but, foremost, the attribution of social roles in a moral community.

Biografia do Autor

Daniel de Vasconcelos Costa, Postdoctoral degree at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

Postdoctoral degree at the Programa de Pós-Graduação em Bioética, Ética Aplicada e Saúde Coletiva at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (PPGBIOS/UFRJ) and PhD in Philosophy at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität - Frankfurt am Main. E-mail: danieldevcosta@gmail.com

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Publicado

2021-04-30