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Eddy Nahmias [25]Eddy A. Nahmias [3]
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Eddy Nahmias
Georgia State University
  1. When Do Robots Have Free Will? Exploring the Relationships Between (Attributions of) Consciousness and Free Will.Eddy Nahmias, Corey Allen & Bradley Loveall - forthcoming - In Marcus Missal & Andrew Cameron Sims Feltz (eds.), Free Will, Causality, and Neuroscience. Brill.
    While philosophers and scientists sometimes suggest (or take for granted) that consciousness is an essential condition for free will and moral responsibility, there is surprisingly little discussion of why consciousness (and what sorts of conscious experience) is important. We discuss some of the proposals that have been offered. We then discuss our studies using descriptions of humanoid robots to explore people’s attributions of free will and responsibility, of various kinds of conscious sensations and emotions, and of reasoning capacities, and examine (...)
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  2. Surveying Freedom: Folk Intuitions About Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):561-584.
    Philosophers working in the nascent field of ‘experimental philosophy’ have begun using methods borrowed from psychology to collect data about folk intuitions concerning debates ranging from action theory to ethics to epistemology. In this paper we present the results of our attempts to apply this approach to the free will debate, in which philosophers on opposing sides claim that their view best accounts for and accords with folk intuitions. After discussing the motivation for such research, we describe our methodology of (...)
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  3. Is Incompatibilism Intuitive?Jason Turner, Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris & Thomas Nadelhoffer - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):28-53.
    Incompatibilists believe free will is impossible if determinism is true, and they often claim that this view is supported by ordinary intuitions. We challenge the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive to most laypersons and discuss the significance of this challenge to the free will debate. After explaining why incompatibilists should want their view to accord with pre theoretical intuitions. we suggest that determining whether incompatibilism is infact intuitive calls for empirical testing. We then present the results of our studies, which (...)
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  4. Do Men and Women Have Different Philosophical Intuitions? Further Data.Toni Adleberg, Morgan Thompson & Eddy Nahmias - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (5):615-641.
    To address the underrepresentation of women in philosophy effectively, we must understand the causes of the early loss of women. In this paper we challenge one of the few explanations that has focused on why women might leave philosophy at early stages. Wesley Buckwalter and Stephen Stich offer some evidence that women have different intuitions than men about philosophical thought experiments. We present some concerns about their evidence and we discuss our own study, in which we attempted to replicate their (...)
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  5. The Past and Future of Experimental Philosophy.Thomas Nadelhoffer & Eddy Nahmias - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):123 – 149.
    Experimental philosophy is the name for a recent movement whose participants use the methods of experimental psychology to probe the way people think about philosophical issues and then examine how the results of such studies bear on traditional philosophical debates. Given both the breadth of the research being carried out by experimental philosophers and the controversial nature of some of their central methodological assumptions, it is of no surprise that their work has recently come under attack. In this paper we (...)
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  6. Is Free Will an Illusion? Confronting Challenges From the Modern Mind Sciences.Eddy Nahmias - 2014 - In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, vol. 4: Freedom and Responsibility. MIT Press.
    In this chapter I consider various potential challenges to free will from the modern mind sciences. After motivating the importance of considering these challenges, I outline the argument structure for such challenges: they require simultaneously establishing a particular condition for free will and an empirical challenge to that condition. I consider several potential challenges: determinism, naturalism, and epiphenomenalism, and explain why none of these philosophical challenges is bolstered by new discoveries from neuroscience and psychology. I then respond to relevant empirical (...)
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  7. The Free Will Inventory: Measuring Beliefs About Agency and Responsibility.Thomas Nadelhoffer, Jason Shepard, Eddy Nahmias, Chandra Sripada & Lisa Thomson Ross - 2014 - Consciousness and Cognition 25:27-41.
    In this paper, we present the results of the construction and validation of a new psychometric tool for measuring beliefs about free will and related concepts: The Free Will Inventory (FWI). In its final form, FWI is a 29-item instrument with two parts. Part 1 consists of three 5-item subscales designed to measure strength of belief in free will, determinism, and dualism. Part 2 consists of a series of fourteen statements designed to further explore the complex network of people’s associated (...)
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  8. Intuitions About Free Will, Determinism, and Bypassing.Eddy Nahmias - 2011 - In Robert Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, 2nd Ed. Oxford University Press.
    It is often called “the problem of free will and determinism,” as if the only thing that might challenge free will is determinism and as if determinism is obviously a problem. The traditional debates about free will have proceeded accordingly. Typically, incompatibilists about free will and determinism suggest that their position is intuitive or commonsensical, such that compatibilists have the burden of showing how, despite appearances, the problem of determinism is not really a problem. Compatibilists, in turn, tend to proceed (...)
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  9. Scientific Challenges to Free Will.Eddy Nahmias - 2010 - In C. Sandis & T. O'Connor (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 345-356.
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  10. The Phenomenology of Free Will.Eddy Nahmias, Stephen G. Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner - 2004 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (7-8):162-179.
    Philosophers often suggest that their theories of free will are supported by our phenomenology. Just as their theories conflict, their descriptions of the phenomenology of free will often conflict as well. We suggest that this should motivate an effort to study the phenomenology of free will in a more systematic way that goes beyond merely the introspective reports of the philosophers themselves. After presenting three disputes about the phenomenology of free will, we survey the (limited) psychological research on the experiences (...)
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  11. Defining Free Will Away. [REVIEW]Eddy Nahmias - 2012 - The Philosophers Magazine 58 (3):110-114.
    A critical review of Sam Harris' Free Will (2012).
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  12. Your Brain as the Source of Free Will Worth Wanting: Understanding Free Will in the Age of Neuroscience.Eddy Nahmias - forthcoming - In Gregg Caruso & Owen Flanagan (eds.), Neuroexistentialism: Meaning, Morals, and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophical debates about free will have focused on determinism—a potential ‘threat from behind’ because determinism entails that there are conditions in the distant past that, in accord with the laws of nature, are sufficient for all of our decisions. Neuroscience is consistent with indeterminism, so it is better understood as posing a ‘threat from below’: If our decision-making processes are carried out by neural processes, then it might seem that our decisions are not based on our prior conscious deliberations or (...)
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  13. Why We Have Free Will.Eddy Nahmias - 2015 - Scientific American 312 (1):77-79.
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  14. When Consciousness Matters: A Critical Review of Daniel Wegner's the Illusion of Conscious Will. [REVIEW]Eddy A. Nahmias - 2002 - Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):527-541.
    In The illusion of conscious will , Daniel Wegner offers an exciting, informative, and potentially threatening treatise on the psychology of action. I offer several interpretations of the thesis that conscious will is an illusion. The one Wegner seems to suggest is "modular epiphenomenalism": conscious experience of will is produced by a brain system distinct from the system that produces action; it interprets our behavior but does not, as it seems to us, cause it. I argue that the evidence Wegner (...)
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  15. A Naturalistic Vision of Free Will.Eddy Nahmias & Morgan Thompson - 2014 - In Elizabeth O'Neill & Edouard Machery (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge.
    We argue, contra Joshua Knobe in a companion chapter, that most people have an understanding of free will and responsible agency that is compatible with a naturalistic vision of the human mind. Our argument is supported by results from a new experimental philosophy study showing that most people think free will is consistent with complete and perfect prediction of decisions and actions based on prior activity in the brain (a scenario adapted from Sam Harris who predicts most people will find (...)
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  16. Free Will as a Psychological Accomplishment.Eddy Nahmias - 2016 - In David Schmidtz & Carmen Pavel (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Freedom. Oxford University Press.
    I offer analyses of free will in terms of a complex set of psychological capacities agents possess to varying degrees and have varying degrees of opportunities to exercise effectively, focusing on the under-appreciated but essential capacities for imagination. For an agent to have free will is for her to possess the psychological capacities to make decisions—to imagine alternatives for action, to select among them, and to control her actions accordingly—such that she is the author of her actions and can deserve (...)
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  17. “Local Determination”, Even If We Could Find It, Does Not Challenge Free Will: Commentary on Marcelo Fischborn.Adina Roskies & Eddy Nahmias - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (1-2):185-197.
    Marcelo Fischborn discusses the significance of neuroscience for debates about free will. Although he concedes that, to date, Libet-style experiments have failed to threaten “libertarian free will”, he argues that, in principle, neuroscience and psychology could do so by supporting local determinism. We argue that, in principle, Libet-style experiments cannot succeed in disproving or even establishing serious doubt about libertarian free will. First, we contend that “local determination”, as Fischborn outlines it, is not a coherent concept. Moreover, determinism is unlikely (...)
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  18. Folk Fears About Freedom and Responsibility: Determinism Vs. Reductionism.Eddy Nahmias - 2006 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):215-237.
    My initial work, with collaborators Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer, and Jason Turner (2005, 2006), on surveying folk intuitions about free will and moral responsibility was designed primarily to test a common claim in the philosophical debates: that ordinary people see an obvious conflict between determinism and both free will and moral responsibility, and hence, the burden is on compatibilists to motivate their theory in a way that explains away or overcomes this intuitive support for incompatibilism. The evidence, if any, offered (...)
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  19. Agency, Authorship, and Illusion.Eddy Nahmias - 2005 - Consciousness and Cognition 14 (4):771-785.
    Daniel Wegner argues that conscious will is an illusion. I examine the adequacy of his theory of apparent mental causation and whether, if accurate, it suggests that our experience of agency and authorship should be considered illusory. I examine various interpretations of this claim and raise problems for each interpretation. I also distinguish between the experiences of agency and authorship.
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  20. Polling as Pedagogy: Experimental Philosophy as a Valuable Tool for Teaching Philosophy.Thomas Nadelhoffer & Eddy Nahmias - 2008 - Teaching Philosophy 31 (1):39-58.
    First, we briefly familiarize the reader with the emerging field of “experimental philosophy,” in which philosophers use empirical methods, rather than armchair speculation, to ascertain laypersons’ intuitions about philosophical issues. Second, we discuss how the surveys used by experimental philosophers can serve as valuable pedagogical tools for teaching philosophy—independently of whether one believes surveying laypersons is an illuminating approach to doing philosophy. Giving students surveys that contain questions and thought experiments from philosophical debates gets them to actively engage with the (...)
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  21. Autonomous Agency and the Threat of Social Psychology.Eddy Nahmias - 2007 - In M. Marraffa, M. Caro & F. Ferretti (eds.), Cartographies of the Mind: Philosophy and Psychology in Intersection. Springer.
    This chapter discusses how research in situationist social psychology may pose largely undiscussed threats to autonomous agency, free will, and moral responsibility.
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  22. Verbal Reports on the Contents of Consciousness: Reconsidering Introspectionist Methodology.Eddy A. Nahmias - 2002 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 8.
    Doctors must now take a fifth vital sign from their patients: pain reports. I use this as a case study to discuss how different schools of psychology (introspectionism, behaviorism, cognitive psychology) have treated verbal reports about the contents of consciousness. After examining these differences, I suggest that, with new methods of mapping data about neurobiological states with behavioral data and with verbal reports about conscious experience, we should reconsider some of the introspectionists' goals and methods. I discuss examples from cognitive (...)
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  23. Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?Eddy Nahmias - 2011 - The New York Times 11.
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  24. The Psychology of Free Will.Eddy Nahmias - manuscript
    I argue that the traditional free will debate has focused too much on whether free will is compatible with determinism and not enough on whether free will is compatible with specific causal explanations for our actions, including those offered by empirical psychology. If free will is understood as a set of cognitive and volitional capacities, possessed and exercised to varying degrees, then psychology can inform us about the extent to which humans (as a species and as individuals) possess those capacities (...)
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  25. Close Calls and the Confident Agent: Free Will, Deliberation, and Alternative Possibilities.Eddy Nahmias - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (3):627-667.
    Two intuitions lie at the heart of our conception of free will. One intuition locates free will in our ability to deliberate effectively and control our actions accordingly: the ‘Deliberation and Control’ (DC) condition. The other intuition is that free will requires the existence of alternative possibilities for choice: the AP condition. These intuitions seem to conflict when, for instance, we deliberate well to decide what to do, and we do not want it to be possible to act in some (...)
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  26. Free Will and Responsibility.Eddy Nahmias - 2012 - WIREs Cognitive Science 3 (4):439-449.
    Free will is a set of capacities for conscious choice and control of actions and is essential for moral responsibility. While determinism is traditionally discussed as the main potential challenge to free will and responsibility, other potential challenges exist and need to be considered by philosophers and scientists. The cognitive sciences are relevant to free will both to study how people understand free will and potential challenges to it, and to study whether these challenges are supported by relevant scientific evidence.
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  27. The State of the Free Will Debate: From Frankfurt Cases to the Consequence Argument.Eddy Nahmias - manuscript
    In this paper I tie together the reasoning used in the Consequence Argument with the intuitions that drive Frankfurt cases in a way that illuminates some of the underlying differences between compatibilists and incompatibilists. I begin by explaining the ‘basic mechanism’ at work in Frankfurt cases: the existence of sufficient conditions for an outcome that do not actually bring about that outcome. I suggest that other potential threats to free will, such as God’s foreknowledge, can be understood in terms of (...)
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  28.  56
    The Problem of Pain.Eddy A. Nahmias - 2005 - In Murat Aydede (ed.), Pain: New Essays on its Nature and the Methodology of its Study. Cambridge Ma: Bradford Book/Mit Press.
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