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Free Will and the Scientific Vision

In Edouard Machery & Elizabeth O'Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge (2014)

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  1. Weighing in on Decisions in the Brain: Neural Representations of Pre-Awareness Practical Intention.Robyn Repko Waller - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):5175-5203.
    Neuroscientists have located brain activity that prepares or encodes action plans before agents are aware of intending to act. On the basis of these findings and broader agency research, activity in these regions has been proposed as the neural realizers of practical intention. My aim in this paper is to evaluate the case for taking these neural states to be neural representations of intention. I draw on work in philosophy of action on the role and nature of practical intentions to (...)
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  • 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 (...)
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  • Indeterministic Intuitions and the Spinozan Strategy.Andrew Kissel - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (3):280-298.
    This article focuses on philosophical views that attempt to explain widespread belief in indeterministic choice by following a strategy that harkens back at least to Spinoza. According to this Spinozan strategy, people draw an inference from the absence of experiences of determined choice to the belief in indeterministic choice. Accounts of this kind are historically liable to overgeneralization. The pair of accounts defended in Shaun Nichols’ recent book, Bound: Essays on Free Will and Responsibility, are the most complete and empirically (...)
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  • 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 (...)
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  • Free Will is Not a Testable Hypothesis.Robert Northcott - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (3):617-631.
    Much recent work in neuroscience aims to shed light on whether we have free will. Can it? Can any science? To answer, we need to disentangle different notions of free will, and clarify what we mean by ‘empirical’ and ‘testable’. That done, my main conclusion is, duly interpreted: that free will is not a testable hypothesis. In particular, it is neither verifiable nor falsifiable by empirical evidence. The arguments for this are not a priori but rather are based on a (...)
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  • 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 (...)
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  • Why People Believe in Indeterminist Free Will.Oisín Deery - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2033-2054.
    Recent empirical evidence indicates that people tend to believe that they possess indeterminist free will, and people’s experience of choosing and deciding is that they possess such freedom. Some also maintain that people’s belief in indeterminist free will has its source in their experience of choosing and deciding. Yet there seem to be good reasons to resist endorsing. Despite this, I maintain that belief in indeterminist free will really does have its source in experience. I explain how this is so (...)
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  • 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 (...)
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  • On Libertarianism as an Explanatory Hypothesis.Andrew Kissel - 2019 - Southwest Philosophy Review 35 (2):91-110.
    Recently, several libertarian philosophers have argued that we appear free on the basis of widespread experience, and that this appearance justifies believing that we enjoy libertarian free will (e.g. Pink 2004 and Swinburne 2013). Such arguments have a long history in philosophy but have been easily dismissed on one of two grounds: either the appearance of freedom does not exist, or else it is an illusion. In this paper, I argue that although presentations of the argument have been historically inadequate, (...)
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  • What Should we Believe About Free Will?Jeremy Byrd - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (3):505-522.
    Given the available evidence, I argue that we face considerable uncertainty about free will. In particular, I argue that the available philosophical evidence does not support being highly confident in our theories about the nature of free will, though this does not necessarily mean that we should suspend judgment about either incompatibilism or compatibilism. For those who accept incompatibilism, however, I argue that there is enough uncertainty about libertarian free will that they should suspend judgment about whether we are ever (...)
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  • The Influence of Framing on Clinicians’ Judgments of the Biological Basis of Behaviors.Nancy S. Kim, Woo-Kyoung Ahn, Samuel G. B. Johnson & Joshua Knobe - 2016 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 22 (1):39-47.
    Practicing clinicians frequently think about behaviors both abstractly (i.e., in terms of symptoms, as in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed., DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) and concretely (i.e., in terms of individual clients, as in DSM–5 Clinical Cases; Barnhill, 2013). Does abstract/concrete framing influence clinical judgments about behaviors? Practicing mental health clinicians (N ? 74) were presented with hallmark symptoms of 6 disorders framed abstractly versus concretely, and provided ratings of their biological and psychological bases (...)
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  • Folk Intuitions and the Conditional Ability to Do Otherwise.Thomas Nadelhoffer, Siyuan Yin & Rose Graves - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (7):968-996.
    In a series of pre-registered studies, we explored (a) the difference between people’s intuitions about indeterministic scenarios and their intuitions about deterministic scenarios, (b) the difference between people’s intuitions about indeterministic scenarios and their intuitions about neurodeterministic scenarios (that is, scenarios where the determinism is described at the neurological level), (c) the difference between people’s intuitions about neutral scenarios (e.g., walking a dog in the park) and their intuitions about negatively valenced scenarios (e.g., murdering a stranger), and (d) the difference (...)
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  • Intuition, Orthodoxy, and Moral Responsibility.John Ross Churchill - 2016 - Faith and Philosophy 33 (2):179-199.
    Many Christian philosophers hold that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism, a thesis known as incompatibilism. But there are good reasons for resisting this trend. To illustrate this, I first examine an innovative recent case for incompatibilism by a Christian philosopher, one that depends crucially on the claim that intuitions favor incompatibilism. I argue that the case is flawed in ways that should keep us from accepting its conclusions. I then argue for a shift in the way that this (...)
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  • ¿Los experimentos de Libet niegan la existencia de la voluntad libre?Victor Manuel Romero Sánchez - 2016 - Signos Filosóficos 18 (36).
    En su laboratorio, Benjamin Libet les pidió a algunos participantes apretar un botón cuando lo decidieran. Pretendía medir, con un eeg, la secuencia entre el deseo de mover la muñeca, la activación del área motora cerebral y el movimiento. Los resultados parecen negar la voluntad libre: primero se da la actividad cerebral, luego el deseo consciente de mover la muñeca y, finalmente, el movimiento. Nuestro cerebro —y no nuestra voluntad— decidiría nuestras acciones. En este artículo cuestiono el aparato conceptual de (...)
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  • Bringing Free Will Down to Earth: People’s Psychological Concept of Free Will and its Role in Moral Judgment.Andrew E. Monroe, Kyle D. Dillon & Bertram F. Malle - 2014 - Consciousness and Cognition 27:100-108.
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  • Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches.John Doris & Stephen Stich - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Moral psychology investigates human functioning in moral contexts, and asks how these results may impact debate in ethical theory. This work is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing on both the empirical resources of the human sciences and the conceptual resources of philosophical ethics. The present article discusses several topics that illustrate this type of inquiry: thought experiments, responsibility, character, egoism v . altruism, and moral disagreement.
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  • 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 (...)
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