Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

The illusory triumph of machine over mind: Wegner's eliminativism and the real promise of psychology

Anthony I. Jack a1 and Philip Robbins a2
a1 Department of Neurology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110
a2 Department of Philosophy, Philosophy–Neuroscience–Psychology Program, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899


Wegner's thesis that the experience of will is an illusion is not just wrong, it is an impediment to progress in psychology. We discuss two readings of Wegner's thesis and find that neither can motivate his larger conclusion. Wegner thinks science requires us to dismiss our experiences. Its real promise is to help us to make better sense of them.