Compatibilism and Incompatibilism in Social Cognition

Cognitive Science 41 (S3):403-424 (2017)
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Compatibilism is the view that determinism is compatible with acting freely and being morally responsible. Incompatibilism is the opposite view. It is often claimed that compatibilism or incompatibilism is a natural part of ordinary social cognition. That is, it is often claimed that patterns in our everyday social judgments reveal an implicit commitment to either compatibilism or incompatibilism. This paper reports five experiments designed to identify such patterns. The results support a nuanced hybrid account: The central tendencies in ordinary social cognition are compatibilism about moral responsibility, compatibilism about positive moral accountability, neither compatibilism nor incompatibilism about negative moral accountability, compatibilism about choice for actions with positive outcomes, and incompatibilism about choice for actions with negative or neutral outcomes.
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