What Makes a Manipulated Agent Unfree?

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3):563-593 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Incompatibilists and compatibilists (mostly) agree that there is a strong intuition that a manipulated agent, i.e., an agent who is the victim of methods such as indoctrination or brainwashing, is unfree. They differ however on why exactly this intuition arises. Incompatibilists claim our intuitions in these cases are sensitive to the manipulated agent’s lack of ultimate control over her actions, while many compatibilists argue that our intuitions respond to damage inflicted by manipulation on the agent’s psychological and volitional capacities. Much hangs on this issue because manipulation-based arguments are among the most important for defending incompatibilist views of free will. In this paper, I investigate this issue from a experimental perspective, using a set of statistical methods well suited for identifying the features of hypothetical cases people’s intuitions are responding to. Results strongly support the compatibilist view—subjects’ tendency to judge that a manipulated agent is unfree was found to depend on their judgments that the agent suffers impairments to certain psychological/volitional capacities that compatibilists say are the basis for free will. I discuss the significance of these results for the use of manipulation cases in the philosophical debate about free will

Similar books and articles

How to Manipulate an Incompatibilistically Free Agent.Roger Clarke - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (2):139-49.
Moral responsibility and the problem of manipulation reconsidered.Ishtiyaque Haji & Stefaan E. Cuypers - 2004 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (4):439 – 464.
A new approach to manipulation arguments.Patrick Todd - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (1):127-133.
Manipulation and mitigation.Andrew C. Khoury - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (1):283-294.
A maneuver around the modified manipulation argument.Hannah Tierney - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):753-763.
Free agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (April):205-20.
Synchronic and Diachronic Responsibility.Andrew C. Khoury - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):735-752.
Implanted Desires, Self-Formation and Blame.Matthew Talbert - 2009 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 3 (2):1-18.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-10-25

Downloads
1,381 (#4,484)

6 months
73 (#14,934)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Chandra Sripada
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Citations of this work

Free will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Explaining Away Incompatibilist Intuitions.Dylan Murray & Eddy Nahmias - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):434-467.
Self-expression: a deep self theory of moral responsibility.Chandra Sripada - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1203-1232.
Experimental moral philosophy.Mark Alfano, Don Loeb & Alex Plakias - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:1-32.
Experimental Philosophy is Cognitive Science.Joshua Knobe - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), A Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell.

View all 43 citations / Add more citations