Wednesday, 8 May, 2024 - 16:15 until 17:45
VUB Main Campus Etterbeek
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Elsene
Gebouw C, lokaal C2.07A

Exploring the boundaries of free will

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Professor Stuart Derbyshire invite you to a lecture presenting new research findings on free will on May 8th.

About the lecture

Is free will truly free, or is it merely an illusion? Professor Stuart Derbyshire, a renowned psychologist from the University of Singapore's Faculty of Arts and Culture, has been exploring this provocative question. On May 8th, he will deliver a lecture as part of the KIIP series, where he will discuss his latest research findings on free will, combining insights from psychology and neuro-imaging.

The debate around the existence of free will is not new. Philosophers have pondered it for centuries, and now neurologists are also contributing to the discussion. Their findings suggest that even simple decisions, like choosing to pick up a glass of water, may not be as free as we think. The concept at the heart of this discussion is "readiness potential" or RP, a type of electrical activity in the brain that occurs before we become conscious of making a decision. This challenges the traditional view that we consciously make decisions and then act on them.

Is there more to this, and does the concept of free will still stand? This lecture promises to offer fascinating insights, particularly for those at a university like ours that values freedom of thought and action highly.

About the panel discussion

The lecture is part of the VUB's PACT public program. After the lecture, philosopher, writer, and PACT curator Alicja Gescinska will lead a discussion with Professor Derbyshire, inviting audience participation. The session will be moderated by Professor Cornelis Johannes Schilt, who initiated the 'Knowledge in International Perspective' (KIIP) lecture series.

The world needs you

This initiative is part of VUB's public programme: a programme for everyone who believes that scientific knowledge sharing, critical thinking and dialogue are an important first step to create impact in the world. 

As an Urban Engaged University, VUB aims to be a driver of change in the world. With our academic edcuational programmes and innovative research, we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and to making a difference locally and globally.

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