David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):561-584 (2005)
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 surveying people’s prephilosophical judgments about the freedom and responsibility of agents in deterministic scenarios. In two studies, we found that a majority of participants judged that such agents act of their own free will and are morally responsible for their actions. We then discuss the philosophical implications of our results as well as various difficulties inherent in such research.
|Keywords||Experiment Folk Psychology Free Will Moral Responsibility Philosophy|
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References found in this work BETA
Joseph Keim Campbell (2011). Free Will. Polity Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (2007). Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions. Noûs 41 (4):663–685.
Kirk Ludwig (2007). The Epistemology of Thought Experiments : First Person Versus Third Person Approaches. In Peter A. French & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.), Midwest Studies in Philosophy. Blackwell Pub. Inc. 128-159.
Simon Cullen (2010). Survey-Driven Romanticism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):275-296.
Eddy Nahmias, Stephen G. Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner (2006). Is Incompatibilism Intuitive? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):28 - 53.
Jonathan M. Weinberg (2007). How to Challenge Intuitions Empirically Without Risking Skepticism. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):318–343.
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