Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A small insight from research into free will in insects

Free Will. What is it?
"Free will is essentially an oxymoron — we would not consider it 'will' if it were completely random and we would not consider it 'free' if it were entirely determined," Brembs said. In other words, nobody would ascribe responsibility to one's actions if they were entirely the result of random coincidence. On the other hand, if one's actions were completely determined by outside factors such that no alternative existed, no one would hold that person responsible for them.

"We speculate that if free will exists, it is in this middle ground" between randomness and determinism "that is currently not well understood or characterized," said mathematical biologist George Sugihara at the University of California at San Diego.
MSNBC reports on a study on free will in fruit flies. The study suggests that even fruit flies have a certain degree of free will.

This is an interesting piece of research, mostly for what it tells us what is wrong in our beliefs I think. Even insects apparently cannot be programmed rigidly and be expected to survive. Next question - what is the mechanism by which such apparent aspects of free will work in the brain?

No comments: