Bioethics Blogs

Forget the Map; Trust Your Brain: The Role Neuroscience Plays in Free Will

by Fuad Haddad

The following post is part of a special series emerging from Contemporary Issues in Neuroethics, a graduate-level course out of Emory University’s Center for Ethics. Fuad is an undergraduate junior at Emory studying neuroscience and behavioral biology and ethics. He currently performs research at Yerkes National Primate Research Center under Dr. Larry Young, studying the relationship of single nucleotide polymorphism and pair bonding. His other research interests are the relationship between oxytocin and allopatric grooming as a model of empathy. 


Lizzie laughs as we drive down Briarcliff. “What do you mean an adventure?” she chuckles at me. I have a propensity to get lost for fun, an unhealthy and interesting habit. We approach a stop light. “Left, right, straight – pick one!” I say. As we arrive at a consensus, we journey onward until we reach a green highway sign that signals the exit to Athens. Her smile gives her motive away; I think, “Sorry Emory, but I’m going to be a Bull Dog today.” 
Take a moment to fast forward four months. On a September afternoon, I sit in the same car, with the same girl, leaving from the same place. “Left, right, straight?!” I ask again. Like before, we haphazardly trek through the jungle of northeast Atlanta. In the midst of yet another game of “where can we get lost now?” a peculiar phenomenon occurs. Slamming on the brakes, the car comes to a halt. Almost instantaneously we both realize that in this seemingly random choice in direction, our choices lead us back to the same green sign again and even more interestingly, through the same path. 

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.