Determinism and attributions of consciousness

Philosophical Psychology (forthcoming)

Authors
Gunnar Björnsson
Stockholm University
Joshua Shepherd
Carleton University
Abstract
The studies we report indicate that it is possible to manipulate explicit ascriptions of consciousness by manipulating whether an agent’s behavior is deterministically caused. In addition, we explore whether this impact of determinism on consciousness is direct, or mediated by notions linked to agency – notions like moral responsibility, free will, deliberate choice, and sensitivity to moral reasons. We provide evidence of mediation. This result extends work on attributions of consciousness and their connection to attributions of agency by Adam Arico, Brian Fiala, and Shaun Nichols (Arico et al. 2011, Fiala et al. 2014) and supports it against recent criticisms (e.g., Sytsma 2014).
Keywords determinism  consciousness  free will
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