The rise of compatibilism: A case study in the quantitative history of philosophy

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):260-270 (2007)
Incompatibilists about free will and responsibility often maintain that incompatibilism is the intuitive, commonsense position. Recently, this claim has come under unfavorable scrutiny from naturalistic philosophers who have surveyed philosophically uneducated undergraduates.1 But there is a much older problem for the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive – if incompatibilism is intuitive, why is compatibilism so popular in the history of philosophy? In this paper I will try to answer this question by pursuing a rather different naturalistic methodology. The idea is to look not at the responses of the philosophically naïve, but at the views of the most sophisticated – the philosophers..
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