About this topic
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 (Turri 2013, Machery et al 2004), mind (Sytsma & Machery 2010), metaphysics (Mark 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, Beebe & Buckwalter 2010, Starmans & Friedman 2012).
Introductions Buckwalter & Sytsma forthcoming provide a general introduction to experimental philosophy. Knobe & Nichols 2008  and Knobe & Nichols 2013 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 Sytsma & Livengood 2015, 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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1428 found
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Experimental Philosophy of Action
  1. Using Experience Sampling to Examine Links Between Compassion, Eudaimonia, and Prosocial Behavior.Jason D. Runyan, Brian N. Fry, Timothy A. Steenbergh, Nathan L. Arbuckle, Kristen Dunbar & Erin E. Devers - forthcoming - Journal of Personality.
    Objective: Compassion has been associated with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior, and has been regarded as a virtue, both historically and cross-culturally. However, the psychological study of compassion has been limited to laboratory settings and/or standard survey assessments. Here, we use an experience sampling method (ESM) to compare naturalistic assessments of compassion with standard assessments, and to examine compassion, its variability, and associations with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior. -/- Methods: Participants took a survey which included standard assessments of compassion and eudaimonia. (...)
  2. When Do Circumstances Excuse? Moral Prejudices and Beliefs About the True Self Drive Preferences for Agency-Minimizing Explanations.Simon Cullen - 2018 - Cognition 180:165-181.
    When explaining human actions, people usually focus on a small subset of potential causes. What leads us to prefer certain explanations for valenced actions over others? The present studies indicate that our moral attitudes often predict our explanatory preferences far better than our beliefs about how causally sensitive actions are to features of the actor's environment. Study 1 found that high-prejudice participants were much more likely to endorse non-agential explanations of an erotic same-sex encounter, such as that one of the (...)
  3. The Semiosis of “Side Effects” in Genetic Interventions.Ramsey Affifi - 2016 - Biosemiotics 9 (3):345-364.
    Genetic interventions, which include transgenic engineering, gene editing, and other forms of genome modification aimed at altering the information “in” the genetic code, are rapidly increasing in power and scale. Biosemiotics offers unique tools for understanding the nature, risks, scope, and prospects of such technologies, though few in the community have turned their attention specifically in this direction. Bruni is an important exception. In this paper, I examine how we frame the concept of “side effects” that result from genetic interventions (...)
  4. A New Angle on the Knobe Effect: Intentionality Correlates with Blame, Not with Praise.Frank Hindriks, Igor Douven & Henrik Singmann - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (2):204-220.
    In a celebrated experiment, Joshua Knobe showed that people are much more prone to attribute intentionality to an agent for a side effect of a given act when that side effect is harmful than when it is beneficial. This asymmetry has become known as ‘the Knobe Effect’. According to Knobe's Moral Valence Explanation, bad effects trigger the attributions of intentionality, whereas good effects do not. Many others believe that the Knobe Effect is best explained in terms of the high amount (...)
  5. The Knobe Effect, Indifference, and Constitutional Law.Moshe Cohen-Eliya & Iddo Porat - 2015 - The Law and Ethics of Human Rights 9 (2):229-247.
  6. The Omissions Account of the Knobe Effect and the Asymmetry Challenge.Katarzyna Paprzycka - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (5):550-571.
    The characteristic asymmetry in intentionality attributions that is known as the Knobe effect can be explained by conjoining an orthodox theory of intentional action with a normative account of intentional omission. On the latter view: omissions presuppose some normative context; there are good reasons why the intentionality of omissions requires agents' knowledge rather than intention. The asymmetry in intentionality attributions in Knobe's cases can be seen to be derivative from an asymmetry in intentional omissions. The omissions account further explains the (...)
  7. Are Intentionality Judgments Fundamentally Moral.Bertram F. Malle & Steve Guglielmo - 2012 - In Robyn Langdon & Catriona Mackenzie (eds.), Emotions, Imagination, and Moral Reasoning. Psychology Press.
  8. Why a Cause Cannot Be Later Than Its Effect.Richard M. Gale - 1965 - Review of Metaphysics 19 (2):209 - 234.
  9. Is the 'Trade-Off Hypothesis' Worth Trading For?†.Caldwell Hall & Chapel Hill - unknown
    Edouard Machery's paper, ‘The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: Philosophical and Psychological Issues, ’ puts forth an intriguing new hypothesis concerning recent work in experimental philosophy on the concept of intentional action. As opposed to other hypotheses in the literature, Machery's 'trade-off hypothesis' claims not to rely on moral considerations in explaining folk uses of the concept. In this paper, we critique Machery's hypothesis and offer empirical evidence to reject it. Finally, we evaluate the current state of the debate concerning (...)
Experimental Philosophy: Free Will
  1. Thinking in Action.Evangelos D. Protopapadakis & Georgios Arabatzis (eds.) - 2018 - Athens, Greece: The NKUA Applied Philosophy Research Lab Press.
    Action can only be spontaneous and impulsive if not guided by contemplation; contemplation, on the other hand, may only be luxurious playfulness if not either purposed - or suitable - to motivate action. This volume seeks to prove what may seem self-evident to common sense, but adhering to common sense is never pointless nor excessive. Next to this, Thinking in Action is the offspring of friendship, respect and commitment between two academic communities, the Hellenic and the Serbian philosophical communities, that (...)
  2. Free Will is About Choosing: The Link Between Choice and the Belief in Free Will.Gilad Feldman, Roy Baumeister & Kin Fai Wong - 2014 - Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 55:239-245.
    Expert opinions have yielded a wide and controversial assortment of conceptions of free will, but laypersons seem to associate free will more simply with making choices. We found that the more strongly people believed in free will, the more they liked making choices, the higher they rated their ability to make decisions (Study 1), the less difficult they perceived making decisions, and the more satisfied they were with their decisions (Study 2). High free will belief was also associated with more (...)
  3. Neuroscientific Prediction and the Intrusion of Intuitive Metaphysics.David Rose, Wesley Buckwalter & Shaun Nichols - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (2):482-502.
    How might advanced neuroscience—in which perfect neuro-predictions are possible—interact with ordinary judgments of free will? We propose that peoples' intuitive ideas about indeterminist free will are both imported into and intrude into their representation of neuroscientific scenarios and present six experiments demonstrating intrusion and importing effects in the context of scenarios depicting perfect neuro-prediction. In light of our findings, we suggest that the intuitive commitment to indeterminist free will may be resilient in the face of scientific evidence against such free (...)
  4. Experimental Philosophy and the Concept of Moral Responsibility.Alicia Finch - 2011 - Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):145-160.
    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 relevant because they provide information about the moral responsibility judgments that ordinary people make. Moreover, they argue, anaccount of moral responsibility is satisfactory only if it is tightly connected to ordinary judgments. The purpose of (...)
  5. Einführung in die experimentelle Philosophie.Nikil Mukerji - 2016 - Wilhelm Fink.
    Wie kann ein Experiment zur Beantwortung philosophischer Fragestellungen beitragen? Etwa: Was ist Wissen? Was bedeuten sprachliche Ausdrücke? Haben wir einen freien Willen? Kann man etwas absichtlich tun, ohne es zu beabsichtigen? Vertreter einer jungen philosophischen Bewegung wollen den Fragen ihres Fachs mithilfe empirisch-psychologischer Methoden auf den Grund gehen. Anstatt den Lehnstuhl (»armchair«) aufzusuchen, um sich philosophischen Problemen zu widmen, begeben sich experimentelle Philosophen ins Labor, um mithilfe empirischer Informationen aus Psychologie, Neurowissenschaft und Kognitionswissenschaft philosophische Schlussfolgerungen zu stützen. Die Einführung gibt (...)
  6. The Folk Psychological Roots of Free Will.Joshua Shepherd - 2017 - In David Rose (ed.), Experimental Metaphysics. Bloomsbury Academic.
    First, what are the psychological roots of our concept of free will? Second, how might progress on the first question contribute to progress regarding normative debates about the proper concept of free will? In sections two and three I address the first question. Section two discusses recent work in the experimental philosophy of free will, and motivates the study I report in section three. Section four reflects on the second question in light of the reported results. To preview, the results (...)
  7. Why Compatibilist Intuitions Are Not Mistaken: A Reply to Feltz and Millan.James Andow & Florian Cova - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):550-566.
    In the past decade, a number of empirical researchers have suggested that laypeople have compatibilist intuitions. In a recent paper, Feltz and Millan have challenged this conclusion by claiming that most laypeople are only compatibilists in appearance and are in fact willing to attribute free will to people no matter what. As evidence for this claim, they have shown that an important proportion of laypeople still attribute free will to agents in fatalistic universes. In this paper, we first argue that (...)
  8. Bound: Essays on Free Will and Responsibility, by Shaun Nichols. [REVIEW]Joshua May - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (2):416-417.
  9. Cognitive Science, Moral Responsibility And The Self.Stefano Cossara - 2012 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 7:1-18.
    In their “Free Will and the Bounds of the Self”, Knobe and Nichols try to get at the root of the discomfort that people feel when confronted with the picture of the mind that characterizes contemporary cognitive science in order to establish whether such discomfort is warranted or not. Their conclusion is that people’s puzzlement cannot be dismissed as a product of confusion, for it stems from some fundamental aspects of their conception of the self. In this paper I suggest, (...)
  10. Is Free Will Necessary for Moral Responsibility?: A Case for Rethinking Their Relationship and the Design of Experimental Studies in Moral Psychology.Carrie Figdor & Mark Phelan - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (5):603-627.
    Philosophical tradition has long held that free will is necessary for moral responsibility. We report experimental results that show that the folk do not think free will is necessary for moral responsibility. Our results also suggest that experimental investigation of the relationship is ill served by a focus on incompatibilism versus compatibilism. We propose an alternative framework for empirical moral psychology in which judgments of free will and moral responsibility can vary independently in response to many factors. We also suggest (...)
  11. What Do People Find Incompatible With Causal Determinism?Adam Bear & Joshua Knobe - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (8):2025-2049.
    Four studies explored people's judgments about whether particular types of behavior are compatible with determinism. Participants read a passage describing a deterministic universe, in which everything that happens is fully caused by whatever happened before it. They then assessed the degree to which different behaviors were possible in such a universe. Other participants evaluated the extent to which each of these behaviors had various features. We assessed the extent to which these features predicted judgments about whether the behaviors were possible (...)
  12. Neuroscientific Prediction and the Intrusion of Intuitive Metaphysics.David Rose, Wesley Buckwalter & Shaun Nichols - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (7).
    How might advanced neuroscience—in which perfect neuro-predictions are possible—interact with ordinary judgments of free will? We propose that peoples' intuitive ideas about indeterminist free will are both imported into and intrude into their representation of neuroscientific scenarios and present six experiments demonstrating intrusion and importing effects in the context of scenarios depicting perfect neuro-prediction. In light of our findings, we suggest that the intuitive commitment to indeterminist free will may be resilient in the face of scientific evidence against such free (...)
  13. Moral Responsibility and Free Will: A Meta-Analysis.Adam Feltz & Florian Cova - 2014 - Consciousness and Cognition 30:234-246.
    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 (...)
  14. Consciousness, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility: Taking the Folk Seriously.Joshua Shepherd - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (7):929-946.
    In this paper, I offer evidence that folk views of free will and moral responsibility accord a central place to consciousness. In sections 2 and 3, I contrast action production via conscious states and processes with action in concordance with an agent's long-standing and endorsed motivations, values, and character traits. Results indicate that conscious action production is considered much more important for free will than is concordance with motivations, values, and character traits. In section 4, I contrast the absence of (...)
  15. Commentary on “The Free-Will Intuitions Scale and the Question of Natural Compatibilism”.Stephen G. Morris - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (6):802-807.
    In “The Free-Will Intuitions Scale and the Question of Natural Compatibilism,” Deery, Davis, and Carey recommend that experimental philosophers employ a new methodology for determining the extent to which the folk are natural compatibilists about free will and moral responsibility. While I agree that the general methodology that the authors developed holds great promise for improving our understanding of folk attitudes about free will and moral responsibility, I am much less enthusiastic about some of the conclusions that they reached on (...)
  16. The Free-Will Intuitions Scale and the Question of Natural Compatibilism.Oisín Deery, Taylor Davis & Jasmine Carey - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (6):776-801.
    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 (...)
  17. Experimental Philosophy, Robert Kane, and the Concept of Free Will.J. Neil Otte - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1):281-296.
    Trends in experimental philosophy have provided new and compelling results that are cause for re-evaluations in contemporary discussions of free will. In this paper, I argue for one such re-evaluation by criticizing Robert Kane’s well-known views on free will. I argue that Kane’s claims about pre-theoretical intuitions are not supported by empirical findings on two accounts. First, it is unclear that either incompatibilism or compatibalism is more intuitive to nonphilosophers, as different ways of asking about free will and responsibility reveal (...)
  18. Traditional and Experimental Approaches to Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Gunnar Björnsson & Derk Pereboom - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell. pp. 142-57.
    Examines the relevance of empirical studies of responsibility judgments for traditional philosophical concerns about free will and moral responsibility. We argue that experimental philosophy is relevant to the traditional debates, but that setting up experiments and interpreting data in just the right way is no less difficult than negotiating traditional philosophical arguments. Both routes are valuable, but so far neither promises a way to secure significant agreement among the competing parties. To illustrate, we focus on three sorts of issues. For (...)
  19. An Error Theory for Compatibilist Intuitions.Adam Feltz & Melissa Millan - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (4):529-555.
    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 (...)
  20. Free Will and Experimental Philosophy : When an Old Debate Meets a New Movement.Hoi-yee Chan & 陳凱宜 - unknown
    Consider this scenario: A terrorist just bombed the subway in London, which resulted in the casualties of numerous innocent people. His act can be considered well-planned for he fully knew what consequences his act would bring. If determinism is true, is it possible that the terrorist in question bombed the subway out of free will? An incompatibilist would respond to this question with a resounding “no”. A compatibilist, on the other hand, would answer yes, as long as the terrorist possessed (...)
  21. Explaining Compatibilist Intuitions About Moral Responsibility: A Critique Of Nichols And Knobe's Performance Error Model.Scott Kimbrough - 2009 - Florida Philosophical Review 9 (2):38-55.
    Experimental philosophy studies show that ordinary people have conflicting moral intuitions: when asked about events in a deterministic universe, respondents exhibit compatibilist intuitions about vignettes describing concrete actions, but they have incompatibilist intuitions in response to more abstract queries. Nichols and Knobe maintain that concrete compatibilist intuitions should be explained as emotion-induced performance errors in the psychological process of moral judgment. Their theory is criticized in two main ways. First, they fail to establish that the role of emotion in generating (...)
  22. Surrounding Free Will: Philosophy, Psychology, Neuroscience.Alfred R. Mele (ed.) - 2014 - Oup Usa.
    This cutting-edge volume showcases work supported by a four-year, 4.4 million dollar project on free will and science. In fourteen new articles and an introduction, contributors explore the subject of free will from the perspectives of neuroscience; social, cognitive, and developmental psychology; and philosophy.
  23. Manipulating Morality: Third‐Party Intentions Alter Moral Judgments by Changing Causal Reasoning.Jonathan Phillips & Alex Shaw - 2014 - Cognitive Science 38 (8):1320-1347.
    The present studies investigate how the intentions of third parties influence judgments of moral responsibility for other agents who commit immoral acts. Using cases in which an agent acts under some situational constraint brought about by a third party, we ask whether the agent is blamed less for the immoral act when the third party intended for that act to occur. Study 1 demonstrates that third-party intentions do influence judgments of blame. Study 2 finds that third-party intentions only influence moral (...)
  24. It’s OK If ‘My Brain Made Me Do It’: People’s Intuitions About Free Will and Neuroscientific Prediction.Eddy Nahmias, Jason Shepard & Shane Reuter - 2014 - 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 (...)
  25. On the Very Concept of Free Will.Joshua May - 2014 - 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 (...)
  26. Free Will in Context: A Defense of Descriptive Variantism.Jason S. Miller - unknown
    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 (...)
  27. Frankfurt-Style Cases User Manual: Why Frankfurt-Style Enabling Cases Do Not Necessitate Tech Support.Florian Cova - 2014 - 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 (...)
  28. Experimental Philosophy and the Compatibility of Free Will and Determinism: A Survey.Florian Cova & Yasuko Kitano - 2014 - Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 22:17-37.
    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 or indirectly upon this issue, before pointing to three possible limitations of this claim. However, notwithstanding these limitations, the investigation concludes that the existing empirical evidence seems to support the view that most people have compatibilist (...)
  29. The Free Will Inventory: Measuring Beliefs About Agency and Responsibility.Thomas Nadelhoffer, Jason Shepard, Eddy Nahmias, Chandra Sripada & Lisa Thomson Ross - 2014 - 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 (...)
  30. What Makes an Intuition a Compatibilist Intuition? A Response to Sripada.Moti Gorin - 2013 - 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 (...)
  31. The Lesson of Bypassing.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (4):599-619.
    The idea that incompatibilism is intuitive is one of the key motivators for incompatibilism. Not surprisingly, then philosophers who defend incompatibilism often claim that incompatibilism is the natural, commonsense view about free will and moral responsibility (e.g., Pereboom 2001, Kane Journal of Philosophy 96:217–240 1999, Strawson 1986). And a number of recent studies find that people give apparently incompatibilist responses in vignette studies. When participants are presented with a description of a causal deterministic universe, they tend to deny that people (...)
  32. A Unified Empirical Account of Responsibility Judgments.Gunnar Björnsson & Karl Persson - 2013 - 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 (...)
  33. Determinism: Do Untutored Intuitions Feed the Bugbears?Dhar Sharmistha - 2009 - International Journal on Humanistic Ideology 2 (1):167-189.
    Philosophers have since long been relying on their own intuitions to shore up their own belief about agency and about the possibility of reconciliation with the domain of physical events that seems to be freewheeled by an underlying necessitarian process. In a certain philosophical circle, a trend has now emerged to put unprimed intuitions to test through psychological experiments, in order to figure out whether philosophers should exercise some temperance in bringing their own belief about agency to the fore, and (...)
  34. Incompatibilism and "Bypassed" Agency.Gunnar Björnsson - 2014 - In Alfred R. Mele (ed.), Surrounding Free Will. Oxford University Press. pp. 95–112.
    Eddy Nahmias and Dylan Murray have recently argued that when people take agents to lack responsibility in deterministic scenarios, they do so because they take agents’ beliefs, desires and decisions to be bypassed, having no effect on their actions. This might seem like an improbable mistake, but the Bypass Hypothesis is bolstered by intriguing experimental data. Moreover, if the hypothesis is correct, it provides a straightforward error theory for incompatibilist intuitions. This chapter argues that the Bypass Hypothesis, although promising and (...)
  35. The Indeterminist Intuition.Shaun Nichols - 2012 - The Monist 95 (2):290-307.
    Evidence from experimental philosophy indicates that people think that their choices are not determined. What remains unclear is why people think this. Denying determinism is rather presumptuous given people’s general ignorance about the nature of the universe. In this paper, I’ll argue that the belief in indeterminism depends on a default presumption that we know the factors that influence our decision making. That presumption was reasonable at earlier points in intellectual history. But in light of work in cognitive science, we (...)
  36. The Nature, Common Usage, and Implications of Free Will and Determinism.Shirley Matile Ogletree & Crystal D. Oberle - 2008 - Behavior and Philosophy 36:97 - 111.
    Philosophers and psychologists have debated what is meant by free will as well as the nature of human choice. However, only recently have data been gathered to consider common usage of the term; our data support college students' belief in free will as indicating some degree of choice that is not constrained by genetic or environmental factors and as separate from a "soft" determinism perspective. How free will and determinism beliefs relate to other psychological attitudes, such as moral responsibility and (...)
  37. The Effect of What We Think May Happen on Our Judgments of Responsibility.Felipe De Brigard & William Brady - 2013 - 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 (...)
  38. Is Free Will an Illusion? Confronting Challenges From the Modern Mind Sciences.Eddy Nahmias - 2014 - 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 (...)
  39. A Naturalistic Vision of Free Will.Eddy Nahmias & Morgan Thompson - 2014 - 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 (...)
  40. Free Will and the Scientific Vision.Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - 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.
  41. Neuroscience, Choice, and the Free Will Debate.Jason Shepard & Shane Reuter - 2012 - American Journal of Bioethics - Neuroscience 3 (3):7-11.
    A number of scientists have recently argued that neuroscience provides strong evidence against the requirements of the folk notion of free will. In one such line of argumentation, it is claimed that choice is required for free will, and neuroscience is showing that people do not make choices. In this article, we argue that this no-choice line of argumentation relies on a specific conception of choice. We then provide evidence that people do not share the conception of choice required of (...)
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