Experimental Philosophy of Free Will and the Comprehension of Determinism

Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-27 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

The experimental validity of research in the experimental philosophy of free will has been called into question. Several new, important studies (Murray et al. forthcoming; Nadelhoffer et al., Cognitive Science 44 (8): 1–28, 2020 ; Nadelhoffer et al., 2021; Rose et al., Cognitive Science 41 (2): 482–502, 2017 ) are interpreted as showing that the vignette-judgment model is defective because participants only exhibit a surface-level comprehension and not the deeper comprehension the model requires. Participants, it is argued, commit _bypassing_, _intrusion_, and _fatalism_ errors. We respond in two ways: (1) we critique and improve existing methods for assessing deeper comprehension and (2) we develop videos to convey deterministic principles of change that succeed in significantly reducing participants’ bypassing, intrusion, and fatalism errors. Consequently, we have the best existing instrument for gauging folk intuitions about the relationship between free will and determinism.

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Author Profiles

Daniel Lim
Duke Kunshan University
Ryan Nichols
California State University, Fullerton

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