Does free will exist?

Prof. Atle O. Søvik's new book on free will challenge neuroscientists and philosophers.

Fakta: 

The book is available here.

An increasing number of neuroscientists and philosophers argue that we do not have free will. The claims of MF Professor Atle O. Søvik follow in detail. The result is a new theory of free will.

Space for free will?
Brain researchers Patrick Haggard, Sam Harris and Wolf Singer believe free will does not exist, as shown by three types of findings. The first is an experiment that allows scientists to predict election before the subjects themselves are aware of their choices, says Søvik. The second finding attempts to show that people are confused about their own reasons to act. If one stimulates the brain and causes their body to move, they think that it is they themselves who have chosen to do so. The third finding shows that the body generally seems completely ruled by reason chains in the brain, ie an understanding that everything happens by natural causes. Thus it appears that there is no room for any person with control, free will or responsibility.

 
Defining Question

However, what is the essential concept of free will? In the book, Freewill, Causality and the Self, Søvik argues that humans have free will in a fairly strong sense of the term. A common understanding of free will is that it is up to us to choose among options, consequently we are the origin or source of choice. The various parts of this definition are discussed further. Søvik believes it is interesting to discuss how free people actually are and whether it is reasonable to hold people accountable for their actions.The challenge is then to provide a reasonable response to these questions as free initially seems impossible, discloses Søvik.

Will Freedom
One of the hardest concepts to understand free will is that all options seem to be determined by former and accidental causes. How then can people be the fundamental source of their own choices? Søvik attacks this problem by suggesting that people themselves can be built gradually by the thoughts and experiences which are stored as memories in their minds. These thoughts and experiences then affects future choices and decisions, which in turn are added to the experiences stored in the mind. This creates a being which, over time, fashions itself and causes new actions, says Søvik.
He continues, writing, it is then meaningful to hold people accountable for their actions so as to influence the decisions they will make in the future.

Read more about the mind, the natural causal chain, the core self and gradual construction of free will at forskning.no.