Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Why conscious free will both is and isn't an illusion

Max Velmans a1
a1 Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, London SE14 6NW, United Kingdom


Wegner's analysis of the illusion of conscious will is close to my own account of how conscious experiences relate to brain processes. But our analyses differ somewhat on how conscious will is not an illusion. Wegner argues that once conscious will arises it enters causally into subsequent mental processing. I argue that while his causal story is accurate, it remains a first-person story. Conscious free will is not an illusion in the sense that this first-person story is compatible with and complementary to a third-person account of voluntary processing in the mind/brain.