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A Naturalistic Vision of Free Will

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

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  1. What Kinds of Alternative Possibilities Are Required of the Folk Concept of Choice?Jason Shepard & Aneyn O’Grady - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 48:138-148.
    Our concept of choice is integral to the way we understand others and ourselves, especially when considering ourselves as free and responsible agents. Despite the importance of this concept, there has been little empirical work on it. In this paper we report four experiments that provide evidence for two concepts of choice—namely, a concept of choice that is operative in the phrase having a choice and another that is operative in the phrase making a choice. The experiments indicate that the (...)
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  • Criminal Responsibility and Neuroscience: No Revolution Yet.Ariane Bigenwald & Valerian Chambon - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • Forget the Folk: Moral Responsibility Preservation Motives and Other Conditions for Compatibilism.Cory J. Clark, Bo M. Winegard & Roy F. Baumeister - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
    For years, experimental philosophers have attempted to discern whether laypeople find free will compatible with a scientifically deterministic understanding of the universe, yet no consensus has emerged. The present work provides one potential explanation for these discrepant findings: People are strongly motivated to preserve free will and moral responsibility, and thus do not have stable, logically rigorous notions of free will. Seven studies support this hypothesis by demonstrating that a variety of logically irrelevant features influence compatibilist judgments. In Study 1, (...)
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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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  • Is Compatibilism Intuitive?Daniel Lim & Ju Chen - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (6):878-897.
    Eddy Nahmias, with various collaborators, has used experimental data to argue for the claim that folk intuition is generally compatibilist. We try to undermine this claim in two ways. First, we argue that the various formulations of determinism he uses are not conceptually equivalent, jeopardizing the kinds of conclusions that can be drawn from the resulting data. Second, prompted by these conceptual worries we supplement the typical quantitative surveys that dominate the extant literature with short qualitative interviews. This, in turn, (...)
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  • 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 (...)
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