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5.4a.1. Free Will and Genetics (Free Will and Genetics on PhilPapers)

Greenspan, Patricia S. (1993). Free will and the genome project. Philosophy and Public Affairs 22 (1):31-43.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Popular and scientific accounts of the U.S. Human Genome Project often express concern about the implications of the project for the philosophic question of free will and responsibility. However, on its standard construal within philosophy, the question of free will versus determinism poses no special problems in relation to genetic research. The paper identifies a variant version of the free will question, free will versus internal constraint, that might well pose a threat to notions of individual autonomy and virtue in connection with genetic research. Whether it does depends on the extent to which the genetic basis for behavior turns on behavioral incapacities
Greenspan, Patricia S. (ms). Free will and genetic determinism: Locating the problem(s).   (Google)
Abstract: I was led to this clarificatory job initially by some puzzlement from a philosopher's standpoint about just why free will questions should come up particularly in connection with the genome project, as opposed to the many other scientific research programs that presuppose determinism. The philosophic concept of determinism involves explanation of all events, including human action, by prior causal factors--so that whether or not human behavior has a genetic basis, it ultimately gets traced back to _something_ true of the world before our birth. The philosophic problem of free will and determinism arises because this seems to undercut moral responsibility: How can we reasonably be held responsible for something whose causes we couldn't control?
Greenspan, Patricia S. (2001). Genes, electrotransmitters, and free will. In Patricia S. Greenspan, David Wasserman & Robert Wachbroit (eds.), Genetics and Criminal Behavior: Methods, Meanings, and Morals. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Abstract: There seems to be evidence of a genetic component in criminal behavior. It is widely agreed not to be "deterministic"--by which discussions outside philosophy seem to mean that by itself it is not sufficient to determine behavior. Environmental factors make a decisive difference--for that matter, there are nongenetic biological factors--in whether and how genetic
Lipton, Peter (2004). Genetic and Generic Determinism: A New Threat to Free Will? In D. Rees & Steven P. R. Rose (eds.), The New Brain Sciences: Perils and Prospects. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Abstract: We are discovering more and more about the human genotypes and about the connections between genotype and behaviour. Do these advances in genetic information threaten our free will? This paper offers a philosopher’s perspective on the question
Young, Garry (2007). Igniting the flicker of freedom: Revisiting the Frankfurt scenario. Philosophia 35 (2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper aims to challenge the view that the sign present in many Frankfurt-style scenarios is insufficiently robust to constitute evidence for the possibility of an alternate decision, and therefore inadequate as a means of determining moral responsibility. I have amended Frankfurt’s original scenario, so as to allow Jones, as well as Black, the opportunity to monitor his (Jones’s) own inclination towards a particular decision (the sign). Different outcome possibilities are presented, to the effect that Jones’s awareness of his own inclinations leads to the conclusion that the sign must be either (a) a prior determinate of the decision about to be made, (b) prior and indeterminate (therefore allowing for a contra-inclination decision to be made), or (c) constitutive of a decision that Jones has made but is not yet aware of. In effect, this means that, prior to the intervention of Black, Jones must have decided to do otherwise or could have so decided. Either way, although Frankfurt’s conclusion, that Jones could not have done other than he did, is upheld, the idea that he could not have decided otherwise must be rejected, and with it the view that the sign is nothing more than a flicker of freedom insufficient for assigning morally responsibility