Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Centro de Biologia ambiental

EvoS Symposiums will take place every year. They are one-day symposiums with four to five national and international speakers. The Symposium is mandatory for EvoS students and open to all others wishing to attend.

The theme for the EvoS Symposium 2011 is “The Evolution of Human Free Will”: why did it evolve and how free really is our free will.

In his last book, Self comes to mind (O Livro da Consciência, Círculo de Leitores, 2010), António Damásio uses central nervous systems across taxa to reconstruct the evolution of human brains, tracing ancestor and new structures and tying these in with the “mind”, the “nuclear-self” and the “autobiographical-self”, the latter a property only humans appear to have.

Brain ontology is genetically determined and brains are energetically expensive: the autobiographical-self – the source of human free will - must thus be an adaptive feature. But what were the ancestral circumstances that made an autobiographical-self adaptive? And how can we reconcile our free-will with certain behavioral strategies that seem to be universal across human beings? How free are we really?

For the inaugural year of EvoS at the UL two evolutionary biologists, an evolutionary psychologist, and an institutional economist were invited. But the full program has not been closed yet, so check this page again in March…