COVID-19 Update: We are currently shipping orders daily. However, due to transit disruptions in some geographies, deliveries may be delayed. To provide all customers with timely access to content, we are offering 50% off our Print & eBook bundle option. Terms & conditions.
Making a Scientific Case for Conscious Agency and Free Will - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128051535, 9780128052891

Making a Scientific Case for Conscious Agency and Free Will

1st Edition

5.0 star rating 2 Reviews
Authors: William Klemm
Paperback ISBN: 9780128051535
eBook ISBN: 9780128052891
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 15th February 2016
Page Count: 118
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out Price includes VAT/GST
Price includes VAT/GST

Institutional Subscription

Secure Checkout

Personal information is secured with SSL technology.

Free Shipping

Free global shipping
No minimum order.


Making a Scientific Case for Conscious Agency and Free Will makes a series of arguments that certain human behaviors are impossible to explain in the absence of free will, and that free will emerges from materialistic processes of brain function. It outlines future directions for neuroscience studies that can harness emerging technologies and tools for systems-level analysis.

All humans have the sensation that they consciously will certain things to happen and that, in the absence of external constraints, they are free to choose from among alternatives. This notion of free will is deemed obvious by the average person based on common experience. Free will is frequently defended with arguments stemming from social, legal, philosophical, and religious perspectives. But these arguments appeal to consequences—not causes—of choices and decisions. In the past 3 decades, debate has raged within the scientific community over whether free will is in fact an illusion. Because free will would require conscious agency, the supporting corollary is that consciousness itself cannot do anything and is merely an observer rather than an actor.

Key Features

  • Considers arguments for and against free will from religious, social, legal, and neuroscience perspectives
  • Provides thorough coverage of the manifold human behaviors that can be explained only by free will, from consciousness to creativity
  • Outlines future directions for further neuroscience research into the topic


Advanced students and researchers in cognitive neuroscience, cognitive science, and other areas related to consciousness, as well as those interested in neuroethics, neurophilosophy, neurotheology, neuropsychology, and the intersection between neuroscience and the law

Table of Contents

  1. The Scientific Case Against Free Will
    2. Misuse of Religious, Social, and Legal Arguments
    - Religious-Based Free Will
    - Social and Legal Bases of Free Will
    3. Free-Will-Dependent Human Characteristics and Behaviors
    - Self-Constructed Conscious Willful Purposes: A Matter of Degree
    - The Autonomous Sense of Self
    - Re-framing the Issue
    - Natural Selection and Evolution
    - Mental Illness
    - Freedom Requires a Self-Aware Autonomous Being
    - Consciousness as a Model of Unconsciousness
    - Variance
    - Unpredictability
    - Patience: May Be More than a Virtue
    - Value Judgments
    - Language
    - Working Memory
    - Reason
    - Character Development
    - Will Power
    - Deliberate Memorization
    - Future Thinking
    - Creativity
    4. Neuroscience to the Rescue
    - Marshalling Neuroscience
    - How the Brain Makes Choices/Decisions
    - Networks in the Brain
    - Neural Circuitry and the Currency of Decision-Making
    - Neural Networks and Chaotic Dynamics
    5. Conclusion
    6. Sources


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2016
15th February 2016
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

William Klemm

As a Professor of Neuroscience at a major research university and a widely published and cited researcher, Dr. Klemm is a Texas A&M and Sigma Xi "Distinguished Scientist," a Distinguished Alumnus of Auburn University, and is listed in 19 biographical publications, including Marquis’ Who’s Who In America and Who’s Who in the World. He has impressive research credentials and can speak with authority about brain and behavior, having been enlisted as a reviewer for 45 scholarly journals and the Editorial Board of 12 journals and a university press. He has published 54 book chapters and 19 books. His most pertinent recent book is Mental Biology, The New Science of How the Brain and Mind Relate (Prometheus). He is a paid writer for Psychology Today. He posts on two blogs that have over 1.5 million reader views.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Professor of Neuroscience, Texas A&M University, USA

Ratings and Reviews