Surveying Freedom: Folk Intuitions about free will and moral responsibility

Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):561-584 (2005)

Authors
Thomas Nadelhoffer
College of Charleston
Jason Turner
University of Arizona
Abstract
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 surveying people’s prephilosophical judgments about the freedom and responsibility of agents in deterministic scenarios. In two studies, we found that a majority of participants judged that such agents act of their own free will and are morally responsible for their actions. We then discuss the philosophical implications of our results as well as various difficulties inherent in such research
Keywords Experiment  Folk Psychology  Free Will  Moral Responsibility  Philosophy
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DOI 10.1080/09515080500264180
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References found in this work BETA

Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Rise and Fall of Experimental Philosophy.Antti Kauppinen - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):95 – 118.
Is Incompatibilism Intuitive?Jason Turner, Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris & Thomas Nadelhoffer - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):28-53.

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Folk Fears About Freedom and Responsibility: Determinism Vs. Reductionism.Eddy Nahmias - 2006 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):215-237.

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