Folk fears about freedom and responsibility: Determinism vs. reductionism

Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):215-237 (2006)
Abstract
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 by philosophers to support the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive has consisted of reports of their own intuitions or informal polls of their students. We were skeptical about the reliability of such evidence, so we used the methodology--”now associated with the label 'experimental philosophy'--”of conducting formal surveys on non-philosophers. Our participants read a scenario that describes a deterministic universe and were then asked to judge whether agents in those scenarios act of their own free will and are morally responsible for their actions. Using three different scenarios with hundreds of participants, we consistently found that the majority (2/3 to 4/5) responded that agents in deterministic universes do act of their own free will and are morally responsible. That is, we found that most ordinary folk do not seem to find incompatibilism intuitive or obviously correct. Our results have been challenged in various ways, philosophical and methodological. For instance, Shaun Nichols (2004, this volume) and Nichols and Joshua Knobe (unpublished) offer some experimental evidence suggesting that, in certain conditions, most people express incompatibilist and libertarian intuitions. I will respond to this work in the following section. I agree that people express conflicting intuitions about free will (after all, we consistently found a minority of participants expressing incompatibilist.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,412
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

View all 8 citations

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

92 ( #13,458 of 1,103,045 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #62,017 of 1,103,045 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.