- Published: November 14, 2012
Although neuroscience is quite a young field, it has had a significant influence on the way we view our own minds. The way human brain works seems to be completely based on the activity of chemical neurotransmitters and electrical signals. We can see different areas of brain lighting up on fMRI scans as we perform different tasks; stimulating different areas of brain can make someone lift up his/her arm even though he/she had no intention to do so. Genes set the basics of how our brains act; our experience and environment also shape our brain. In this elaborate system, there simply doesn’t seem to be a space for something other than those scientific stuffs to come in and play a role. This kind of approach makes us wonder: do we have a say in how we behave and how we make choices? Do we have a free will?
This question has important implications for the legal system. We punish criminals because we assume that they are responsible for whatever criminal act that they committed. As Greene and Cohen () point out, “intuitively, a mind is, amont other things, an uncaused causer. Consequently, when something is seen as a mere physical…