Often we understand free will to mean the opposite of fate. But what does it mean to have control over your self and your actions? What does it take? Have humans ever really had it? And why do we care? Because the implications are more than theoretical, according to Gazzaniga: “The central part of free will that people want to hold onto is the sense that that therefore makes you responsible for your actions.” Ownership over your actions implies a certain degree of responsibility.
But we’re not prisoners of our neural networks, either. Clearly, there’s a balance between seeing people either as deterministic robots or as entirely in control of everything they do. “The way I sum it up is that brains are automatic, but people are free because people are joining the social group and in that group are laws to live by. We can understand brains to the nth degree, but it’s not going to, in any way, interfere with the fact that taking responsibility in a social network is done at that level.”