Eddy Nahmias

Special guest

I am professor and chair of the Philosophy Department at Georgia State University and an associate faculty member of the Neuroscience Institute.

My research is devoted to the study of human agency: what it is, how it is possible, and how it accords with scientific accounts of human nature. Much of my work focuses on debates about free will and moral responsibility. You can find most of my papers on my Research page.

In my work I argue that the free will debate should not be focused on the traditional question of whether free will is compatible with determinism. Rather, more attention should be paid to distinct threats posed by the sciences of the mind (e.g., neuroscience and psychology) and conversely, what these sciences can tell us about how free will works in humans. I examine these threats and argue that they do not show that free will is an illusion. Instead, these sciences can help to explain free will, rather than explaining it away. To set up these conclusions about what the modern mind sciences tell us about free will, I offer a naturalistic theory focusing on the importance of imagination and self-knowledge—especially our ability to consider various future decisions and their outcomes, to know what we really want, and to know how to act on it. This account of free will, which analyzes it as set of psychological capacities that agents possess and exercise to varying degrees, is amenable to scientific inquiry.

Eddy Nahmias has been a guest on 1 episode.