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date: 18 August 2017

Abstract and Keywords

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

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