Free will, consciousness, cognition (FWCC): interdisciplinary research in philosophy, AI, neuroscience, physics – June 3, 2021

While concepts such as free will, consciousness, and cognition (FWCC) were initially studied by philosophers – including by almost all ‘big names’ –, nowadays these topics are actively investigated in several disciplines. Many contemporary researchers find inspiration in other disciplines than their home field to enrich their research. 

This conference brings together experts on free will, consciousness, and cognition from various disciplinary origins, notably philosophy, AI, neuroscience, and physics. 

Key topics at the workshop (this is not an exhaustive list): 

  • Contemporary scholarship on free will, consciousness, cognition in the mentioned disciplines, with special interest for cross-disciplinary research 
  • Artificial FWCC in AI-research and (quantum) physics 
  •  Artificial consciousness and ethics in AI and robotics. How far are we from artificial consciousness and superintelligence in AI? How to get there? 
  • Free will and (in)determinism: insights from various disciplines  

The conference will start at 10:00 (Tyumen time) on June 3. The language of the event is English. Visitors are welcome to join us at the School of Advanced Studies, room 501. Please make sure to carry a face mask.  

Those who cannot attend offline can view the online broadcast on the SAS YouTube channel.

The conference is organized by Louis Vervoort. For info, contact


10:00–10:10Opening Ceremony, Andrey Shcherbenok (SAS, University of Tyumen)

10:10–11:00 —  AI for Scientific Discoveries, Alexey Melnikov (Valiev Institute of Physics and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Terra Quantum AG)

11:00–11:45Free Will without Effective Intentions, General Intentions, and Reasons-ResponsivenessSergei Levin (Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg)

11:45–12:35Modern Cyberphysical Systems Based on Quantum Principles, Alexander Alodjants (ITMO University, St. Petersburg)

12:35–14:15 — Lunch

14:15–14:55Subjective Confidence in a Libet Experiment: Implications for the Neuroscience of Free Will, Viola Lechner (University of Graz)

14:55–15:45Three Approaches to Theorising Artificial Consciousness, Henry Shevlin (Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge)

15:45–16:35The Neurobiology of Behavioral Variability — An Opening for Libertarian Free Will, Bjoern Brembs (University of Regensburg)

16:35–17:00 — Coffee Break

17:00–17:50On a Link between Free Will and Consciousness, and Possible Implications for Future AI, Louis Vervoort (SAS, University of Tyumen)

17:50- 18:40How to Find Free Will in the Brain: ReImagining the Causal Bottleneck, Eddy Nahmias (Georgia State University)

18:40–19:00 — Closing Discussion