La coscienza: un ritardato mentale?
In: Verifiche Anno XXXVII, N. 4, 2008 XXXVII , No. 4 ( 2008 )
Sezione Saggi / Articles
During recent decades, Benjamin Libet’s experiments on awareness of voluntary acts have been a focus of the interest of neuroscientists and philosophers. As is well known, Libet has shown that awareness of intending to act “here and now” (for example, the free and spontaneous decision to bend the wrist) is preceded by about a half a second of measurable electric change of the motor cortex. More recent experiments have even shifted the neural anticipation to 10 seconds. The current paper has two main aims. Firstly, it presents a comparison between the results of these experiments and what Aristotle and Kant have argued about the role played by the arational element in conscious voluntary acts. Secondly, it provides an analysis of the limits of the peculiar condition in which the experiments have been carried out as well as of the interpretation of their results.