Beyond the Courtroom: Agency and the Perception of Free will

In Samuel Murray & Paul Henne (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Action. Bloomsbury (2023)
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In this paper, we call for a new approach to the psychology of free will attribution. While past research in experimental philosophy and psychology has mostly been focused on reasoning- based judgment (“the courtroom approach”), we argue that like agency and mindedness, free will can also be experienced perceptually (“the perceptual approach”). We further propose a new model of free will attribution—the agency model—according to which the experience of free will is elicited by the perceptual cues that prompt the attribution of agency. Finally, developing new stimuli that fit the perceptual approach, we present some preliminary evidence in support of the agency model.

Author Profiles

Edouard Machery
University of Pittsburgh
Markus Kneer
University of Graz
Pascale Willemsen
University of Zürich
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