Kevin Mitchell , The Nature & Nurture Podcast

Nature & Nurture #120: Dr. Kevin Mitchell - Evolution, Entropy, Neurogenetics, & Free Will

18 Oct 2023 • 71 min • EN
71 min
No file found

Dr. Kevin Mitchell is an Associate Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin. He's the author of Innate: How the Wiring of Our Brains Shapes Who We Are, and Free Agents: How Evolution Gave Us Free Will. In this episode, we talk about Free Agents and the question of free will. We discuss what we mean by freedom, how living organisms have inherent biological constraints which actually define ourselves as causal agents. We also discuss the common scientific view of reductionist determinism and its limitations, and how causal agents use the inherent indeterminacy and forward motion of time in our universe as "causal slack" to make predictions and control their behavior in a meaningful way. We talk about the role entropy plays in life and computation, how free will grows as computational and cognitive complexity grows, and how these realities should define our ethical and legal conceptions of moral responsibility. Lastly, we talk about how individual differences in genes, environment, and brain development shape our personalities and constrain us in some ways, but also offer opportunities for unique identity, character development, meaning, and purpose.

From "The Nature & Nurture Podcast"

Listen on your iPhone

Download our iOS app and listen to interviews anywhere. Enjoy all of the listener functions in one slick package. Why not give it a try?

App Store Logo
application screenshot

Popular categories