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Eddy Nahmias [28]Eddy A. Nahmias [8]
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Profile: Eddy Nahmias (Georgia State University, Georgia State University)
  1. Eddy Nahmias, The State of the Free Will Debate: From Frankfurt Cases to the Consequence Argument.
    In this paper I tie together the reasoning used in the Consequence Argument with the intuitions that drive Frankfurt cases in a way that illuminates some of the underlying differences between compatibilists and incompatibilists. I begin by explaining the ‘basic mechanism’ at work in Frankfurt cases: the existence of sufficient conditions for an outcome that do not actually bring about that outcome. I suggest that other potential threats to free will, such as God’s foreknowledge, can be understood in terms of (...)
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  2. Toni Adleberg, Morgan Thompson & Eddy Nahmias (forthcoming). Do Men and Women Have Different Philosophical Intuitions? Further Data. Philosophical Psychology:1-27.
    To address the underrepresentation of women in philosophy effectively, we must understand the causes of the loss of women after their initial philosophy classes. In this paper we challenge one of the few explanations that has focused on why women might leave philosophy at early stages. Wesley Buckwalter and Stephen Stich (2014) offer some evidence that women have different intuitions than men about philosophical thought experiments. We present some concerns about their evidence and we discuss our own study, in which (...)
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  3. Eddy Nahmias (forthcoming). The Psychology of Free Will. In The Oxford Handbook on Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford University Press.
    I have argued that the traditional free will debate has focused too much on whether free will is compatible with determinism and not enough on whether free will is compatible with specific causal explanations for our actions, including those offered by empirical psychology. If free will is understood as a set of cognitive and volitional capacities, possessed and exercised to varying degrees, then psychology can inform us about the extent to which humans (as a species and as individuals) possess those (...)
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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. Thomas Nadelhoffer, Dena Gromet, Geoffrey Goodwin, Eddy Nahmias, Chandra Sripada & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2013). The Mind, the Brain, and the Law. In Thomas A. Nadelhoffer (ed.), The Future of Punishment. Oup Usa.
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  10. Florian Cova, Julien Dutant, Edouard Machery, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols & Eddy Nahmias (eds.) (2012). La Philosophie Expérimentale. Vuibert.
    La philosophie expérimentale est un mouvement récent qui tente de faire progresser certains débats philosophiques grâce à l'utilisation de méthodes expérimentales. À la différence de la philosophie conventionnelle qui privilégie l'analyse conceptuelle ou la spéculation, la philosophie expérimentale préconise le recours aux études empiriques pour mieux comprendre les concepts philosophiques. Apparue il y a une dizaine d'années dans les pays anglo-saxons, cette approche constitue actuellement l'une des branches les plus dynamiques de la philosophie contemporaine. -/- L'objectif de cet ouvrage est (...)
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  11. Eddy Nahmias (2012). Defining Free Will Away. [REVIEW] The Philosophers Magazine 58 (3):110-114.
    A critical review of Sam Harris' Free Will (2012).
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  12. Eddy Nahmias (2012). Free Will and Responsibility. WIREs Cognitive Science 3 (4):439-449.
    Free will is a set of capacities for conscious choice and control of actions and is essential for moral responsibility. While determinism is traditionally discussed as the main potential challenge to free will and responsibility, other potential challenges exist and need to be considered by philosophers and scientists. The cognitive sciences are relevant to free will both to study how people understand free will and potential challenges to it, and to study whether these challenges are supported by relevant scientific evidence.
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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. Thomas Nadelhoffer, Eddy A. Nahmias & Shaun Nichols (eds.) (2010). Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings. Wiley-Blackwell.
    Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings is the first book to bring together the most significant contemporary and historical works on the topic from both philosophy and psychology. Provides a comprehensive introduction to moral psychology, which is the study of psychological mechanisms and processes underlying ethics and morality Unique in bringing together contemporary texts by philosophers, psychologists and other cognitive scientists with foundational works from both philosophy and psychology Approaches moral psychology from an empirically informed perspective Explores a wide range (...)
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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. Thomas A. Nadelhoffer & Eddy Nahmias (2008). Polling as Pedagogy. Teaching Philosophy 31 (1):39-59.
    First, we briefly familiarize the reader with the nascent field of "experimental philosophy," in which philosophers use empirical methods, rather than armchair speculation, to ascertain laypersons' intuitions about philosophical issues. Second, we discuss how the surveys used by experimental philosophers can serve as valuable pedagogical tools for teaching philosophy-independently of whether one believes surveying laypersons is an illuminating approach to doing philosophy. Giving students surveys that contain questions and thought experiments from philosophical debates gets them to actively engage with the (...)
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  19. Thomas Nadelhoffer & Eddy Nahmias (2008). Polling as Pedagogy: Experimental Philosophy as a Valuable Tool for Teaching Philosophy. Teaching Philosophy 31 (1):39-58.
    First, we briefly familiarize the reader with the emerging field of “experimental philosophy,” in which philosophers use empirical methods, rather than armchair speculation, to ascertain laypersons’ intuitions about philosophical issues. Second, we discuss how the surveys used by experimental philosophers can serve as valuable pedagogical tools for teaching philosophy—independently of whether one believes surveying laypersons is an illuminating approach to doing philosophy. Giving students surveys that contain questions and thought experiments from philosophical debates gets them to actively engage with the (...)
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  20. Thomas Nadelhoffer & Eddy Nahmias (2007). The Past and Future of Experimental Philosophy. Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):123 – 149.
    Experimental philosophy is the name for a recent movement whose participants use the methods of experimental psychology to probe the way people think about philosophical issues and then examine how the results of such studies bear on traditional philosophical debates. Given both the breadth of the research being carried out by experimental philosophers and the controversial nature of some of their central methodological assumptions, it is of no surprise that their work has recently come under attack. In this paper we (...)
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  21. Eddy Nahmias (2007). Autonomous Agency and the Threat of Social Psychology. In M. Marraffa, M. Caro & F. Ferretti (eds.), Cartographies of the Mind: Philosophy and Psychology in Intersection. Springer.
    This chapter discusses how research in situationist social psychology may pose largely undiscussed threats to autonomous agency, free will, and moral responsibility.
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  22. 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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  23. Eddy A. Nahmias (2006). Close Calls and the Confident Agent: Free Will, Deliberation, and Alternative Possibilities. Philosophical Studies 131 (3):627-667.
    Two intuitions lie at the heart of our conception of free will. One intuition locates free will in our ability to deliberate effectively and control our actions accordingly: the ‘Deliberation and Control’ (DC) condition. The other intuition is that free will requires the existence of alternative possibilities for choice: the AP condition. These intuitions seem to conflict when, for instance, we deliberate well to decide what to do, and we do not want it to be possible to act in some (...)
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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. Jason Turner & Eddy A. Nahmias (2006). Are the Folk Agent-Causationists? Mind and Language 21 (5):597-609.
    Experimental examination of how the folk conceptualize certain philosophically loaded notions can provide information useful for philosophical theorizing. In this paper, we explore issues raised in Shaun Nichols' (2004) studies involving people's conception of free will, focusing on his claim that this conception fits best with the philosophical theory of agent-causation. We argue that his data do not support this conclusion, highlighting along the way certain considerations that ought to be taken into account when probing the folk conception of free (...)
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  27. Eddy Nahmias (2005). Agency, Authorship, and Illusion. Consciousness and Cognition 14 (4):771-785.
    Daniel Wegner argues that conscious will is an illusion. I examine the adequacy of his theory of apparent mental causation and whether, if accurate, it suggests that our experience of agency and authorship should be considered illusory. I examine various interpretations of this claim and raise problems for each interpretation. I also distinguish between the experiences of agency and authorship.
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  28. Eddy Nahmias (2005). Practical Suggestions for Teaching Small Philosophy Classes. Teaching Philosophy 28 (1):59-65.
    This paper offers a number of tips for teaching small philosophy classes (under twenty-five students). Some of these include using a horseshoe seating arrangement, replacing hand-raising with name cards, engaging in “real” Socratic dialogues, having students create a philosophical “Question of the Day”, and assigning students “Critical Response” papers.
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  29. Eddy Nahmias (2005). Review of Joseph Keim Campbell (Ed.), Michael O'Rourke (Ed.), David Shier (Ed.), Freedom and Determinism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (6).
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  30. Eddy A. Nahmias (2005). The Problem of Pain. In Murat Aydede (ed.), Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study. Cambridge Ma: Bradford Book/Mit Press.
  31. 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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  32. 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.
  33. 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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  34. Giiven Giizeldere, Eddy Nahmias & Robert O. Deaner (2002). Darwin's Continuum and the Building Blocks of Deception. In Marc Bekoff, Colin Allen & Gordon M. Burghardt (eds.), The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition. Mit Press. 353.
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  35. Eddy A. Nahmias (2002). Verbal Reports on the Contents of Consciousness: Reconsidering Introspectionist Methodology. Psyche 8 (21).
    Doctors must now take a fifth vital sign from their patients: pain reports. I use this as a case study to discuss how different schools of psychology (introspectionism, behaviorism, cognitive psychology) have treated verbal reports about the contents of consciousness. After examining these differences, I suggest that, with new methods of mapping data about neurobiological states with behavioral data and with verbal reports about conscious experience, we should reconsider some of the introspectionists' goals and methods. I discuss examples from cognitive (...)
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  36. Eddy A. Nahmias (2002). When Consciousness Matters: A Critical Review of Daniel Wegner's the Illusion of Conscious Will. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):527-541.
    In The illusion of conscious will , Daniel Wegner offers an exciting, informative, and potentially threatening treatise on the psychology of action. I offer several interpretations of the thesis that conscious will is an illusion. The one Wegner seems to suggest is "modular epiphenomenalism": conscious experience of will is produced by a brain system distinct from the system that produces action; it interprets our behavior but does not, as it seems to us, cause it. I argue that the evidence Wegner (...)
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