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Merleau-Ponty, M. (2014). Phenomenology of perception. D. A. Landes, Trans. New York: Routledge. (Original work published 1945).   
Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/8/24, 7:05 AM
"No sooner have I formed the desire to take hold of an object than already, at some point in space that I was not thinking about, my hand as that power for grasping rises up toward the object."
Discussing the habituation of a blind man to his cane, it almost becomes a part of his body: "The position of objects is given immediately by the scope of the gesture that reaches them and in which, beyond the potential reach of the arm, the radius of the action of the cane is included. . . . This has nothing to do with a quick estimate or a comparison between the objective length of the cane and the objective distance of the goal to be reached. Places in space are not defined as objective positions in relation to the objective position of our body, but rather they inscribe around us the variable reach of our intentions and our gestures. To habituate oneselve to a hat, an automobile, or a cane is to take up residence in them, or inversely, to make them participate within the voluminosity of one's own body. Habit expresses the power we have of dilating our being in the world, or of altering our existence through incorporating new instruments."
Rosenberg, A. (2018). How history gets things wrong: The neuroscience of our addiction to stories. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.   
Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 6/8/20, 5:29 PM

The seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke suggested that we have free will in willing our arms to raise – think, I will raise my arm and then it raises and so there is causation. This was disagreed with by David Hume – as Rosenberg states, all you notice is "the feeling of deciding to raise your arm, and then slightly later, your arm going up" (p.99).

See (Libet 1985).

In the 1980s, it was shown through neuroscience techniques that the decision to raise the limb occurs after the brain signal to raise it and before that signal reaches the arm (p.100).



Libet, B. (1985). Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8(4), 529–566.
Westerhoff, J. (2011). Reality: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 7/20/21, 11:22 AM

Discussing Libet's (1985) experiment. While we prefer to believe that we have willed our hand to rise, our intention, there is a precursor in the subconscious, the readiness potential, that can be measured using EEG and that precedes the hand movement and the reported time at which subjects noted their intention to lift the hand. The conclusion is that intention (and thus free will?) is manufactured after the event. See also (Rosenberg 2018, p.99).



Libet, B. (1985). Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8(4), 529–566.
Rosenberg, A. (2018). How history gets things wrong: The neuroscience of our addiction to stories. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
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