One of the concerns often raised regarding the brain and its embodiment of behavior is the ability of the brain and behavior to be altered using drugs. In many ways this is seen as frightening to many who fear this suggests the loss of freewill and control of one's behavior because of the brains responsiveness to and reliance on chemicals. However, I would counter that this represents not a loss, but a regain of freewill.

For many people with mental disabilities it is difficult to control their own behavior. This suggests that the malfunction causes a loss in self controll. For example, a person with the disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder will often find it difficult if not impossible to concentrate or focus on most things for long periods of time. In my experience with people with this disorder this causes a great deal of frustration because they are not able to do what they want to because of this loss of controll. With the administration of drugs such as Ritalin the brain chemistry is affected and becomes more "normal" and a large degree of control is regained. This shows that the drugs can be beneficial in returning a brain to a state wherein it can react as the will of a person wishes. The research on brain makeup and chemistry does not represent the loss of freewill because of a dependence on chemicals, but rather the regain of self control for many.There are many serious concerns about the effects of chemicals on brain activity, such as the effects of illicit drugs. The effects of many of these drugs, such as LSD or herione, cause drastic changes in behavior and loss of ability to think and reason in a rational manner. Often time freewill is altered in these cases and self control is lost. However, this is usually the result hoped for by people willingly taking these drugs o their own volition.

Reliance on chemicals by the brain does not call into question the existence of freewill but rather suggest that in normally functioning brains the chemicals and brain activity actually provide for it. Changes in this makeup whether from disorders such as ADHD or use of illicit drugs show how freewill is affected by changes in normal nuerochemical makeup.

Fascinating and very sophisticated approach to the matter. Many thanks. Do agree that pharmacological manipulation can be seen as enhancing rather than demeaning humanness and human responsibility in many circumstances. What had not thought about so clearly as you put it is the argument from pharmacology that "free will" is indeed a property of the brain. Yes, indeed, material manipulation of the material brain can both lessen and enhance "free will". Interesting to see whether we can make clear in the course how THAT is possible. PG