"I" and the brain

Beatrice Longuenesse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Many philosophers as well as many biological psychologists think that recent experiments in neuropsychology have definitively discredited any notion of freedom of the will. I argue that the arguments mounted against the concept of freedom of the will in the name of natural causal determinism are valuable but not new, and that they leave intact a concept of freedom of the will that is compatible with causal determinism. After explaining this concept, I argue that it is interestingly related to our use of the first person pronoun "I." I discuss three examples of our use of "I" in thought and language and submit a few questions I would like neuropsychologists to answer concerning the brain processes that might underlie those uses. I suggest answering these questions would support the compatibilist notion of freedom of the will I have offered in part 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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