Article

Intuitions about Free Will, Determinism, and Bypassing

Eddy Nahmias

in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will

Second edition

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780195399691
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195399691.003.0029

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Intuitions about Free Will, Determinism, and Bypassing

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This article draws on experimental studies of folk intuitions about free will and moral responsibility conducted in the past decade. It questions the claims of many philosophers that most ordinary persons have incompatibilist intuitions about free will and moral responsibility. In the studies, various deterministic scenarios are presented to undergraduate students who have not studied philosophy. In these scenarios, studies found that, although some students expressed incompatibilist intuitions, a majority expressed compatibilist intuitions, agreeing that agents could be free and morally responsible in these presumably deterministic scenarios. This article further argues that determinism seems to be a threat to free will and moral responsibility because it is often connected with something else that ordinary persons do take to be a threat to free will and moral responsibility. It calls this threat bypassing.

Keywords: experimental studies; folk intuitions; free will; moral responsibility; compatibilist intuitions; determinism; bypassing

Article.  10071 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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