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Apr
14th
Sat
permalink
Probably 99.999 percent of what goes on in the brain is automatic and unconscious. I have no idea what my next sentence will be, and sometimes I sound like it. (…) We think the other stuff, the ‘me,’ the ‘self,’ — we think that’s really important. We think there is somebody in charge —somebody pulling the levers. (…)

The brain is automatic but people are free. You are responsible. Get over it.”

Free will is not a useful concept at the level of brain biology, to summarize Gazzaniga, because the biology is fixed. We cannot control our brains. It is at the level of interactions between people where concepts like responsibility and justice can be addressed. Gazzaniga compared the problem to an analysis of traffic, which cannot be achieved by studying individual cars. “Traffic only exists in the interaction,” he said.
Michael Gazzaniga, professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he heads the new SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, cited in Can we have free will, if the brain’s actions are automatic? A scholar makes the case, Capital New York, Apr 13, 2012.