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Summary Experimental philosophy is a new movement that uses systematic experimental studies to shed light on philosophical issues. In other words, experimental philosophers apply the methods commonly associated with psychology (experimentation, statistical analysis, developmental research, reaction time studies, patient studies, and so on), but they use those methods to address the kinds of questions that have been traditionally associated with philosophy. The experimental philosophy movement is united more by a shared methodology than by a shared research agenda or metaphilosophical viewpoint. Thus, while work in experimental philosophy makes use of systematic empirical study, this methodology has been applied to a wide array of different philosophical questions, and researchers have offered quite different views about the way in which such experimental work can prove philosophically valuable. So perhaps the best way to become acquainted with the field of experimental philosophy is to look in detail at the actual research findings.
Key works Key work in experimental philosophy has been done in virtually all areas of philosophy including philosophy of language (Machery et al 2004Genone & Lombrozo 2012), mind (Sytsma & Machery 2010), metaphysics (Alicke et al 2011), intentionality (Knobe 2010, Young et al 2006) free will and moral responsibility (Nichols & Knobe 2007Nichols 2011) metaethics (Sarkissian et al 2011Sarkissian et al 2010) and epistemology (Weinberg et al 2001, Buckwalter & Schaffer 2013).
Introductions Knobe & Nichols 2008  and Knobe & Nichols 2014 include collections of some of the early papers in experimental philosophy that established the field, as well as new commentaries and responses from a broader range of philosophers. Knobe et al 2012 provides an up-to-date review of research in experimental philosophy. This introduction is written for an audience of psychologists and therefore tends to emphasize empirical findings rather than philosophical implications. There have also been several excellent introductory textbooks including Alexander 2012, and Mallon & Nichols 2012 juxtaposing traditional and cutting edge experimental readings. Experimental philosophy is a rapidly growing field, and breaking xphi news and results can be found at the Experimental Philosophy Blog and on Facebook and Twitter
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Experimental Philosophy of Action
Experimental Philosophy: Free Will
  1. Jesús H. Aguilar, Andrei A. Buckareff & Keith Frankish (eds.) (2010). New Waves in Philosophy of Action. Palgrave Macmillan.
  2. Gunnar Björnsson & Karl Persson (2013). A Unified Empirical Account of Responsibility Judgments. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):611-639.
    Skeptical worries about moral responsibility seem to be widely appreciated and deeply felt. To address these worries—if nothing else to show that they are mistaken—theories of moral responsibility need to relate to whatever concept of responsibility underlies the worries. Unfortunately, the nature of that concept has proved hard to pin down. Not only do philosophers have conflicting intuitions; numerous recent empirical studies have suggested that both prosaic responsibility judgments and incompatibilist intuitions among the folk are influenced by a number of (...)
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  3. G. Botterill (2010). Effective Intentions: The Power of Conscious Will * By ALFRED R. MELE. [REVIEW] Analysis 70 (2):395-398.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  4. Edward T. Cokely & Adam Feltz (2009). Adaptive Variation in Judgment and Philosophical Intuition. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):356-358.
    Our theoretical understanding of individual differences can be used as a tool to test and refine theory. Individual differences are useful because judgments, including philosophically relevant intuitions, are the predictable products of the fit between adaptive psychological mechanisms (e.g., heuristics, traits, skills, capacities) and task constraints. As an illustration of this method and its potential implications, our target article used a canonical, representative, and affectively charged judgment task to reveal a relationship between the heritable personality trait extraversion and some compatabilist (...)
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  5. Florian Cova (2014). Frankfurt-Style Cases User Manual: Why Frankfurt-Style Enabling Cases Do Not Necessitate Tech Support. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3):505-521.
    ‘Frankfurt-style cases’ (FSCs) are widely considered as having refuted the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP) by presenting cases in which an agent is morally responsible even if he could not have done otherwise. However, Neil Levy (J Philos 105:223–239, 2008) has recently argued that FSCs fail because we are not entitled to suppose that the agent is morally responsible, given that the mere presence of a counterfactual intervener is enough to make an agent lose responsibility-grounding abilities. Here, I distinguish two (...)
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  6. Florian Cova, Maxime Bertoux, Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde & Bruno Dubois (2012). Judgments About Moral Responsibility and Determinism in Patients with Behavioural Variant of Frontotemporal Dementia: Still Compatibilists. Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):851-864.
    Do laypeople think that moral responsibility is compatible with determinism? Recently, philosophers and psychologists trying to answer this question have found contradictory results: while some experiments reveal people to have compatibilist intuitions, others suggest that people could in fact be incompatibilist. To account for this contradictory answers, Nichols and Knobe (2007) have advanced a ‘performance error model’ according to which people are genuine incompatibilist that are sometimes biased to give compatibilist answers by emotional reactions. To test for this hypothesis, we (...)
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  7. Florian Cova & Yasuko Kitano (2013). Experimental Philosophy and the Compatibility of Free Will and Determinism: A Survey. Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science:17-37.
    The debate over whether free will and determinism are compatible is controversial, and produces wide scholarly discussion. This paper argues that recent studies in experimental philosophy suggest that people are in fact “natural compatibilists”. To support this claim, it surveys the experimental literature bearing directly (section 1) or indirectly (section 2) upon this issue, before pointing to three possible limitations of this claim (section 3). However, notwithstanding these limitations, the investigation concludes that the existing empirical evidence seems to support the (...)
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  8. Felipe De Brigard & William Brady (2013). The Effect of What We Think May Happen on Our Judgments of Responsibility. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (2):259-269.
    Recent evidence suggests that if a deterministic description of the events leading up to a morally questionable action is couched in mechanistic, reductionistic, concrete and/or emotionally salient terms, people are more inclined toward compatibilism than when those descriptions use non-mechanistic, non-reductionistic, abstract and/or emotionally neutral terms. To explain these results, it has been suggested that descriptions of the first kind are processed by a concrete cognitive system, while those of the second kind are processed by an abstract cognitive system. The (...)
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  9. Oisín Deery, Matthew S. Bedke & Shaun Nichols (2013). Phenomenal Abilities: Incompatibilism and the Experience of Agency. In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. Oxford University Press. 126–50.
    Incompatibilists often claim that we experience our agency as incompatible with determinism, while compatibilists challenge this claim. We report a series of experiments that focus on whether the experience of having an ability to do otherwise is taken to be at odds with determinism. We found that participants in our studies described their experience as incompatibilist whether the decision was (i) present-focused or retrospective, (ii) imagined or actual, (iii) morally salient or morally neutral. The only case in which participants did (...)
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  10. Oisin Deery, Taylor Davis & Jasmine Carey (forthcoming). The Free-Will Intuitions Scale and the Question of Natural Compatibilism. Philosophical Psychology:1-26.
    Standard methods in experimental philosophy have sought to measure folk intuitions using experiments, but certain limitations are inherent in experimental methods. Accordingly, we have designed the Free-Will Intuitions Scale to empirically measure folk intuitions relevant to free-will debates using a different method. This method reveals what folk intuitions are like prior to participants’ being put in forced-choice experiments. Our results suggest that a central debate in the experimental philosophy of free will—the ‘natural’ compatibilism debate—is mistaken in assuming that folk intuitions (...)
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  11. Adam Feltz (2012). Pereboom and Premises: Asking the Right Questions in the Experimental Philosophy of Free Will. Consciousness and Cognition 22 (1):53-63.
    Sommers (2010) argues that experimental philosophers of free will have largely been asking the wrong question – the question whether philosophically naïve individuals think that free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism. The present studies begin to alleviate this concern by testing the intuitive plausibility of Pereboom’s (2001) four case argument. The general pattern of responses from two experiments does not support Pereboom’s predictions. Moreover, those who were high in the personality trait emotional stability tended to judge that (...)
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  12. Adam Feltz & Edward T. Cokely (2009). Do Judgments About Freedom and Responsibility Depend on Who You Are? Personality Differences in Intuitions About Compatibilism and Incompatibilism. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):342-350.
    Recently, there has been an increased interest in folk intuitions about freedom and moral responsibility from both philosophers and psychologists. We aim to extend our understanding of folk intuitions about freedom and moral responsibility using an individual differences approach. Building off previous research suggesting that there are systematic differences in folks’ philosophically relevant intuitions, we present new data indicating that the personality trait extraversion predicts, to a significant extent, those who have compatibilist versus incompatibilist intuitions. We argue that identifying groups (...)
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  13. Adam Feltz, Edward T. Cokely & Thomas Nadelhoffer (2009). Natural Compatibilism Versus Natural Incompatibilism: Back to the Drawing Board. Mind and Language 24 (1):1-23.
    In the free will literature, some compatibilists and some incompatibilists claim that their views best capture ordinary intuitions concerning free will and moral responsibility. One goal of researchers working in the field of experimental philosophy has been to probe ordinary intuitions in a controlled and systematic way to help resolve these kinds of intuitional stalemates. We contribute to this debate by presenting new data about folk intuitions concerning freedom and responsibility that correct for some of the shortcomings of previous studies. (...)
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  14. Adam Feltz & Florian Cova (forthcoming). Moral Responsibility and Free Will: A Meta-Analysis. Consciousness and Cognition.
    Fundamental beliefs about free will and moral responsibility are often thought to shape our ability to have healthy relationships with others and ourselves. Emotional reactions have also been shown to have an important and pervasive impact on judgments and behaviors. Recent research suggests that emotional reactions play a prominent role in judgments about free will, influencing judgments about determinism’s relation to free will and moral responsibility. However, the extent to which affect influences these judgments is unclear. We conducted a metaanalysis (...)
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  15. Adam Feltz & Melissa Millan (forthcoming). An Error Theory for Compatibilist Intuitions. Philosophical Psychology:1-27.
    One debate in the experimental exploration of everyday judgments about free will is whether most people are compatibilists or incompatibilists. Some recent research suggests that many people who have incompatibilist intuitions are making a mistake; as such, they do not have genuine incompatibilist intuitions. Another worry is whether most people appropriately understand determinism or confuse it with similar, but different, notions such as fatalism. In five studies we demonstrate people distinguish determinism from fatalism. While people overall make this distinction, a (...)
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  16. Adam Feltz, A. Perez & M. Harris (2012). Free Will, Causes, and Decisions: Individual Differences in Written Reports. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9-10):166-189.
    We present evidence indicating new individual differences with people's intuitions about the relation of determinism to freedom and moral responsibility. We analysed participants' written explanations of why a person acted. Participants offered one of either 'decision' or 'causal' based explanations of behaviours in some paradigmatic cases. Those who gave causal explanations tended to have more incompatibilist intuitions than those who gave decision explanations. Importantly, the affective content of a scenario influenced the type of explanation given. Scenarios containing highly affective actions (...)
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  17. Alicia Finch (2011). Experimental Philosophy and the Concept of Moral Responsibility. Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):146-160.
    In recent years, so-called experimental philosophers have argued that participants in the moral responsibility debate ought to adopt a new methodology. In particular, they argue, the results of experimental surveys ought to be introduced into the debate.According to the experimental philosophers, these surveys are philosophically rel- evant because they provide information about the moral responsibility judgments that ordinary people make. Moreover, they argue, an account of moral responsibility is satisfactory only if it is tightly con- nected to ordinary judgments. The (...)
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  18. Moti Gorin (2013). What Makes an Intuition a Compatibilist Intuition? A Response to Sripada. Philosophia 41 (4):1205-1215.
    So-called “manipulation arguments” have played a significant role in recent debates between compatibilists and incompatibilists. Incompatibilists take such arguments to show that agents who lack ultimate control over their characters or actions are not free. Most compatibilists agree that manipulated agents are not free but think this is because certain of the agent’s psychological capacities have been compromised. Chandra Sekhar Sripada has conducted an interesting study in which he applies an array of statistical tools to subjects’ intuitive responses to a (...)
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  19. Robert H. Kane (ed.) (2001). Oxford Handbook on Free Will. Oxford University Press.
    This comprehensive reference provides an exhaustive guide to current scholarship on the perennial problem of Free Will--perhaps the most hotly and voluminously debated of all philosophical problems. While reference is made throughout to the contributions of major thinkers of the past, the emphasis is on recent research. The essays, most of which are previously unpublished, combine the work of established scholars with younger thinkers who are beginning to make significant contributions. Taken as a whole, the Handbook provides an engaging and (...)
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  20. Joshua Knobe (forthcoming). Free Will and the Scientific Vision. In Edouard Machery & Elizabeth O.’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge.
    A review of existing work in experimental philosophy on intuitions about free will. The paper argues that people ordinarily understand free human action, not as something that is caused by psychological states (beliefs, desires, etc.) but as something that completely transcends the normal causal order.
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  21. Joshua Knobe & John M. Doris (2010). Responsibility. In John Michael Doris (ed.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press.
    A great deal of fascinating research has gone into an attempt to uncover the fundamental criteria that people use when assigning moral responsibility. Nonetheless, it seems that most existing accounts fall prey to one counterexample or another. The underlying problem, we suggest, is that there simply isn't any single system of criteria that people apply in all cases of responsibility attribution. Instead, it appears that people use quite different criteria in different kinds of cases. [This paper was originally circulated under (...)
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  22. Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (2011). Free Will and the Bounds of the Self. In Robert Kane (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford.
    If you start taking courses in contemporary cognitive science, you will soon encounter a particular picture of the human mind. This picture says that the mind is a lot like a computer. Specifically, the mind is made up of certain states and certain processes. These states and processes interact, in accordance with certain general rules, to generate specific behaviors. If you want to know how those states and processes got there in the first place, the only answer is that they (...)
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  23. Consuelo Luverà (2012). Intuitivamente Liberi: Il Contributo Della Filosofia Sperimentale Al Dibattito Sul Libero Arbitrio. Mucchi.
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  24. Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley (2012). Explaining the Abstract/Concrete Paradoxes in Moral Psychology: The NBAR Hypothesis. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):351-368.
    For some reason, participants hold agents more responsible for their actions when a situation is described concretely than when the situation is described abstractly. We present examples of this phenomenon, and survey some attempts to explain it. We divide these attempts into two classes: affective theories and cognitive theories. After criticizing both types of theories we advance our novel hypothesis: that people believe that whenever a norm is violated, someone is responsible for it. This belief, along with the familiar workings (...)
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  25. Joshua May (2014). On the Very Concept of Free Will. Synthese 191 (12):2849-2866.
    Determinism seems to rule out a robust sense of options but also prevent our choices from being a matter of luck. In this way, free will seems to require both the truth and falsity of determinism. If the concept of free will is coherent, something must have gone wrong. I offer a diagnosis on which this puzzle is due at least in part to a tension already present in the very idea of free will. I provide various lines of support (...)
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  26. Jason S. Miller, Free Will in Context: A Defense of Descriptive Variantism.
    Are free will and determinism compatible? Philosophical focus on this deceptively simple `compatibility question' has historically been so pervasive that the entire free will debate is now standardly framed in its terms - that is, as a dispute between compatibilists, who answer the question affirmatively, and incompatibilists, who respond in the negative. This dissertation, in contrast, adopts a position that I call `descriptive variantism,' according to which prevailing notions of free will exhibit significant aspects of both compatibilism and incompatibilism. My (...)
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  27. Andrew E. Monroe & Bertram F. Malle (2010). From Uncaused Will to Conscious Choice: The Need to Study, Not Speculate About People’s Folk Concept of Free Will. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):211-224.
    People’s concept of free will is often assumed to be incompatible with the deterministic, scientific model of the universe. Indeed, many scholars treat the folk concept of free will as assuming a special form of nondeterministic causation, possibly the notion of uncaused causes. However, little work to date has directly probed individuals’ beliefs about what it means to have free will. The present studies sought to reconstruct this folk concept of free will by asking people to define the concept (Study (...)
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  28. Stephen G. Morris (forthcoming). Commentary on “The Free-Will Intuitions Scale and the Question of Natural Compatibilism”. Philosophical Psychology:1-6.
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  29. Dylan Murray & Eddy Nahmias (2014). Explaining Away Incompatibilist Intuitions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):434-467.
    The debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists depends in large part on what ordinary people mean by ‘free will’, a matter on which previous experimental philosophy studies have yielded conflicting results. In Nahmias, Morris, Nadelhoffer, and Turner (2005, 2006), most participants judged that agents in deterministic scenarios could have free will and be morally responsible. Nichols and Knobe (2007), though, suggest that these apparent compatibilist responses are performance errors produced by using concrete scenarios, and that their abstract scenarios reveal the folk (...)
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  30. Thomas Nadelhoffer (2007). Folk Intuitions, Slippery Slopes, and Necessary Fictions : An Essay on Saul Smilansky's Free Will Illusionism. In Peter A. French & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.), Philosophy and the Empirical. Blackwell Pub. Inc.. 202–213.
    During the past two decades, an interest among philosophers in fictitious and illusory beliefs has sprung up in fields ranging anywhere from mathematics and modality to morality.1 In this paper, we focus primarily on the view that Saul Smilansky has dubbed “free will illusionism”—i.e., the purportedly descriptive claim that most people have illusory beliefs concerning the existence of libertarian free will, coupled with the normative claim that because dispelling these illusory beliefs would produce negative personal and societal consequences, those of (...)
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  31. Thomas Nadelhoffer, Trevor Kvaran & Eddy Nahmias (2009). Temperament and Intuition: A Commentary on Feltz and Cokely. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):351-355.
    In this paper, we examine Adam Feltz and Edward Cokely’s recent claim that “the personality trait extraversion predicts people’s intuitions about the relationship of determinism to free will and moral responsibility”. We will first present some criticisms of their work before briefly examining the results of a recent study of our own. We argue that while Feltz and Cokely have their finger on the pulse of an interesting and important issue, they have not established a robust and stable connection between (...)
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  32. Thomas Nadelhoffer, Jason Shepard, Eddy Nahmias, Chandra Sripada & Lisa Ross (2014). The Free Will Inventory: Measuring Beliefs About Agency and Responsibility. Consciousness and Cognition 25:27-41.
    In this paper, we present the results of the construction and validation of a new psychometric tool for measuring beliefs about free will and related concepts: The Free Will Inventory (FWI). In its final form, FWI is a 29-item instrument with two parts. Part 1 consists of three 5-item subscales designed to measure strength of belief in free will, determinism, and dualism. Part 2 consists of a series of fourteen statements designed to further explore the complex network of people’s associated (...)
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  33. Eddy Nahmias (2014). Is Free Will an Illusion? Confronting Challenges From the Modern Mind Sciences. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, vol. 4: Freedom and Responsibility. MIT Press.
    In this chapter I consider various potential challenges to free will from the modern mind sciences. After motivating the importance of considering these challenges, I outline the argument structure for such challenges: they require simultaneously establishing a particular condition for free will and an empirical challenge to that condition. I consider several potential challenges: determinism, naturalism, and epiphenomenalism, and explain why none of these philosophical challenges is bolstered by new discoveries from neuroscience and psychology. I then respond to relevant empirical (...)
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  34. Eddy Nahmias (2011). Intuitions About Free Will, Determinism, and Bypassing. In Robert Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press.
    It is often called “the problem of free will and determinism,” as if the only thing that might challenge free will is determinism and as if determinism is obviously a problem. The traditional debates about free will have proceeded accordingly. Typically, incompatibilists about free will and determinism suggest that their position is intuitive or commonsensical, such that compatibilists have the burden of showing how, despite appearances, the problem of determinism is not really a problem. Compatibilists, in turn, tend to proceed (...)
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  35. Eddy Nahmias (2011). Why 'Willusionism' Leads to 'Bad Results': Comments on Baumeister, Crescioni, and Alquist. Neuroethics 4 (1):17-24.
    Drawing on results discussed in the target article by Baumeister et al. (1), I argue that the claim that the modern mind sciences are discovering that free will is an illusion ( willusionism ) is ambiguous and depends on how ordinary people understand free will. When interpreted in ways that the evidence does not justify, the willusionist claim can lead to ‘bad results.’ That is, telling people that free will is an illusion leads people to cheat more, help less, and (...)
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  36. Eddy A. Nahmias (2006). Folk Fears About Freedom and Responsibility: Determinism Vs. Reductionism. Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):215-237.
    My initial work, with collaborators Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer, and Jason Turner (2005, 2006), on surveying folk intuitions about free will and moral responsibility was designed primarily to test a common claim in the philosophical debates: that ordinary people see an obvious conflict between determinism and both free will and moral responsibility, and hence, the burden is on compatibilists to motivate their theory in a way that explains away or overcomes this intuitive support for incompatibilism. The evidence, if any, offered (...)
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  37. Eddy A. Nahmias, Stephen G. Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner (2005). Surveying Freedom: Folk Intuitions About Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):561-584.
    Philosophers working in the nascent field of ‘experimental philosophy’ have begun using methods borrowed from psychology to collect data about folk intuitions concerning debates ranging from action theory to ethics to epistemology. In this paper we present the results of our attempts to apply this approach to the free will debate, in which philosophers on opposing sides claim that their view best accounts for and accords with folk intuitions. After discussing the motivation for such research, we describe our methodology of (...)
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  38. Eddy Nahmias, D. Justin Coates & Trevor Kvaran (2007). Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Mechanism: Experiments on Folk Intuitions. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):214–242.
    In this paper we discuss studies that show that most people do not find determinism to be incompatible with free will and moral responsibility if determinism is described in a way that does not suggest mechanistic reductionism. However, if determinism is described in a way that suggests reductionism, that leads people to interpret it as threatening to free will and responsibility. We discuss the implications of these results for the philosophical debates about free will, moral responsibility, and determinism.
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  39. Eddy Nahmias, Stephen G. Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner (2006). Is Incompatibilism Intuitive? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):28 - 53.
    Incompatibilists believe free will is impossible if determinism is true, and they often claim that this view is supported by ordinary intuitions. We challenge the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive to most laypersons and discuss the significance of this challenge to the free will debate. After explaining why incompatibilists should want their view to accord with pretheoretical intuitions, we suggest that determining whether incompatibilism is in fact intuitive calls for empirical testing. We then present the results of our studies, which (...)
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  40. Eddy Nahmias, Stephen G. Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner (2004). The Phenomenology of Free Will. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (7-8):162-179.
    Philosophers often suggest that their theories of free will are supported by our phenomenology. Just as their theories conflict, their descriptions of the phenomenology of free will often conflict as well. We suggest that this should motivate an effort to study the phenomenology of free will in a more systematic way that goes beyond merely the introspective reports of the philosophers themselves. After presenting three disputes about the phenomenology of free will, we survey the (limited) psychological research on the experiences (...)
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  41. Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner 1 (2005). Surveying Freedom: Folk Intuitions About Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):561-584.
  42. Eddy Nahmias & Dylan Murray (2010). Experimental Philosophy on Free Will: An Error Theory for Incompatibilist Intuitions. In Jesus Aguilar, Andrei Buckareff & Keith Frankish (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Action. Palgrave-Macmillan. 189--215.
    We discuss recent work in experimental philosophy on free will and moral responsibility and then present a new study. Our results suggest an error theory for incompatibilist intuitions. Most laypersons who take determinism to preclude free will and moral responsibility apparently do so because they mistakenly interpret determinism to involve fatalism or “bypassing” of agents’ relevant mental states. People who do not misunderstand determinism in this way tend to see it as compatible with free will and responsibility. We discuss why (...)
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  43. Eddy Nahmias, Jason Shepard & Shane Reuter (2014). It's OK If 'My Brain Made Me Do It': People's Intuitions About Free Will and Neuroscientific Prediction. Cognition 133 (2):502-516.
    In recent years, a number of prominent scientists have argued that free will is an illusion, appealing to evidence demonstrating that information about brain activity can be used to predict behavior before people are aware of having made a decision. These scientists claim that the possibility of perfect prediction based on neural information challenges the ordinary understanding of free will. In this paper we provide evidence suggesting that most people do not view the possibility of neuro-prediction as a threat to (...)
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  44. Eddy Nahmias & Morgan Thompson (2014). A Naturalistic Vision of Free Will. In Elizabeth O'Neill & Edouard Machery (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge.
    We argue, contra Joshua Knobe in a companion chapter, that most people have an understanding of free will and responsible agency that is compatible with a naturalistic vision of the human mind. Our argument is supported by results from a new experimental philosophy study showing that most people think free will is consistent with complete and perfect prediction of decisions and actions based on prior activity in the brain (a scenario adapted from Sam Harris who predicts most people will find (...)
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  45. Dana K. Nelkin (2007). Do We Have a Coherent Set of Intuitions About Moral Responsibility? Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):243–259.
    I believe that the data is both fascinating and instructive, but in this paper I will resist the conclusion that we must give up Invariantism, or, as I prefer to call it, Unificationism. In the process of examining the challenging data and responding to it, I will try to draw some larger lessons about how to use the kind of data being collected. First, I will provide a brief description of some influential theories of responsibility, and then explain the threat (...)
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  46. Shaun Nichols (2011). Experimental Philosophy and the Problem of Free Will. Science 331 (6023):1401-1403.
    Many philosophical problems are rooted in everyday thought, and experimental philosophy uses social scientific techniques to study the psychological underpinnings of such problems. In the case of free will, research suggests that people in a diverse range of cultures reject determinism, but people give conflicting responses on whether determinism would undermine moral responsibility. When presented with abstract questions, people tend to maintain that determinism would undermine responsibility, but when presented with concrete cases of wrongdoing, people tend to say that determinism (...)
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  47. Shaun Nichols (2009). How Can Psychology Contribute to the Free Will Debate? In J. Baer, J. Kaufman & R. Baumeister (eds.), Psychology and Free Will. Oxford University Press.
    Are people free and morally responsible? Or are their actions determined, i.e. inevitable outcomes of the past conditions and the laws of nature? These seem fairly straightforward questions, but it is important to distinguish 3 different dimensions of the free will debate: a descriptive project, a substantive project, and a prescriptive project. In this chapter, I’ll consider how psychology can contribute to each project in turn. First, I should say a bit more about the projects.
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  48. Shaun Nichols (2007). After Incompatibilism: A Naturalistic Defense of the Reactive Attitudes. Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):405-428.
    From the first time I encountered the problem of free will in college, it struck me that a clear-eyed view of free will and moral responsibility demanded some form of nihilism. Libertarianism seemed delusional, and compatibilism seemed in bad faith. Hence I threw my lot in with philosophers like Paul d’Holbach, Galen Strawson, and Derk Pereboom who conclude that no one is truly moral responsible. But after two decades of self- identifying as a nihilist, it occurred to me that I (...)
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  49. Shaun Nichols (2006). Free Will and the Folk: Responses to Commentators. Journal of Cognition and Culture 6:305-320.
    Experimental research on folk intuitions concerning free will is still in its infancy. So it is especially helpful to have such an excellent set of commentaries, and I greatly appreciate the work of the commentators in advancing the project. Because of space limitations, I can’t respond to all of the comments. I will focus on just a few issues that emerge from the comments that I think are especially promising for illumination.
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  50. Shaun Nichols (2006). Folk Intuitions on Free Will. Journal of Cognition and Culture 6:57-86.
    This paper relies on experimental methods to explore the psychological underpinnings of folk intuitions about free will and responsibility. In different conditions, people give conflicting responses about agency and responsibility. In some contexts, people treat agency as indeterminist; in other contexts, they treat agency as determinist. Furthermore, in some contexts people treat responsibility as incompatible with determinism, and in other contexts people treat responsibility as compatible with determinism. The paper considers possible accounts of the psychological mechanisms that underlie these conflicting (...)
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