Susan BlackmoreSusan Blackmore is a British psychologist and freelance writer who has written extensively on consciousness. Just as many philosophers and scientists think that free will may be an illusion, Blackmore appears to think that consciousness is a "Grand Illusion" or a delusion. She says about a "conscious will"
For some people it is the human capacity for self-conscious thought that makes us different from other animals and machines; they believe that it is because we can consciously weigh up alternatives and consider the outcomes that we have free will and hence can be held responsible for our choices. Yet this brings us straight back to the same problem. If consciousness is conceived of as a force that makes free will possible, then it amounts to magic - an impossible intervention in an otherwise causally closed world. But if consciousness is not such a force, then our feelings of having conscious control must be an illusion.She describes the "classic problem of free will" in three short paragraphs;
David Hume called the problem of free will the most contentious of metaphysics. Indeed, it is said to be the most discussed problem in all of philosophy, going back to the ancient Greeks and beyond. The issue raises strong feelings because freedom implies responsibility. We consider ourselves responsible, and we hold others accountable for their actions on the assumption that they freely chose to act the way they did. If there is no free will, then human moral responsibilitymight seem to be threatened, and with it the rule of law. Part of the problem lies with determinism. To many early philosophers, as well as to modern scientists, the universe appears to be deterministic; that is, all events are determined by prior events. If this is so, the argument goes, then everything that happens must be inevitable and if everything is inevitable there is no room for free will, because all my actions must be predetermined. This means that there is no point in my choosing to do anything, and no sense in which I could have done otherwise. Some philosophers accept that free will and determinism are incompatible. They argue that either determinism is false (which seems unlikely and is extremely hard to prove) or free will must be an illusion (because it would amount to magic - an impossible non-physical intervention). Note that the addition of truly random processes to a determined world, as in radioactive decay or quantum physics, does not provide a loophole for free will since these processes, if they are truly random, cannot be influenced at all.Blackmore does not see that the "truly random processes" may be the (first stage) source for those "alternatives" that we can "consciously weigh" and that when we "consider the outcomes" we use an "adequately determined" second stage of evaluation, deliberation, and choice. Normal | Teacher | Scholar