The Libet experiment: Is free will just an illusion?

2 minutes

Can we really make conscious decisions, or is agency just a trick of the brain?

We tend to take it for granted that conscious thoughts precede our actions. However, the US scientist Benjamin Libet’s groundbreaking 1980s experiments on the relationship between brain activity, conscious thoughts and physical actions caused some scientists and philosophers to rethink the concept of ‘free will’ and ask whether our decisions are made subconsciously before we’re even aware of them.

Video by BBC Radio 4

Script: Nigel Warburton

Animation: Andrew Park

Video/Knowledge

Models are always imperfect, and the ones we choose greatly shape our experience

3 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Metaphysics

Stephanie regrets passing up a great opportunity. Can modal realism help?

5 minutes

Video/Nature & Environment

In the murky waters of climate change, native fishers are among the most vulnerable

7 minutes

Idea/History of Ideas

When philosophy needed Muslims, Jews and Christians alike

Peter Adamson

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/History of Ideas

What is good rhetoric?

Plato said we ought to be suspicious of persuasive speakers and the appeal to emotions. But rhetoric can be a civic good

Tushar Irani

Video/Beauty & Aesthetics

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which is the fairest rectangle of them all?

2 minutes

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Idea/Ethics

Are human rights anything more than legal conventions?

John Tasioulas

Essay/Logic

Philosophy tool kit

Thinking like a philosopher need not be a strange and arcane art, if you get started with these tricks of the trade

Alan Hájek

Video/Values & Beliefs

How a millionaire traded his wealth for happiness – and a shoeshine box

4 minutes