- Introduction: The Contours of Contemporary Free-Will Debates (Part 2)
- Divine Knowledge and Human Freedom
- Quantum Physics, Consciousness, and Free Will
- Chaos, Indeterminism, and Free Will
- The Causal Closure of Physics and Free Will
- The Consequence Argument Revisited
- A Compatibilist Reply to the Consequence Argument
- Compatibilism Without Frankfurt: Dispositional Analyses of free Will
- Contemporary Compatibilism: Mesh Theories and Reasons-Responsive Theories
- Moral Sense and the Foundations of Responsibility
- Who's <i>Still</i> Afraid of Determinism? Rethinking Causes and Possibilities
- Frankfurt-Type Examples and SemiCompatibilism: New Work
- Frankfurt-Friendly Libertarianism
- Obligation, Reason, and Frankfurt Examples
- Agent-Causal Theories of Freedom
- Alternatives for Libertarians
- Freedom and action without causation: Noncausal theories of freedom and purposive agency
- Free Will is not a Mystery
- Rethinking Free Will: New Perspectives on an Ancient Problem
- Free-Will Skepticism and Meaning in Life
- Free Will, Fundamental Dualism, and the Centrality Of Illusion
- Effects, Determinism, Neither Compatibilism Nor Incompatibilism, Consciousness
- Revisionist Accounts of Free Will: Origins, Varieties, and Challenges
- A Promising Argument
- Rollbacks, Endorsements, and Indeterminism
- Free Will and Science
- Contributions of Neuroscience to the Free Will Debate: From random movement to intelligible action
- Free Will and the Bounds of the Self
- Intuitions about Free Will, Determinism, and Bypassing
Abstract and Keywords
This article appeals to experimental studies in order to elucidate the reactions of ordinary persons to the picture of the human mind that is prevalent in contemporary cognitive science. According to this prevalent cognitive-scientific picture, the mind is made up of states and processes that interact according to certain rules to generate specific behaviors. The discussion argues that this picture is disturbing to ordinary persons, who reason that if the mind works that way, we would not be morally responsible for what we did because our behaviors would inevitably result from facts about the configuration of states and processes within us. It concludes that people have access to different conceptions of the self, on some of which cognitive science is a genuine threat to free will, on others not. The puzzlement people feel about free will is therefore not merely a superficial muddle that can be dissolved by conceptual clarification.
Joshua Knobe is an assistant professor at Yale University, appointed both in the Program in Cognitive Science and in the Department of Philosophy. He is one of the founders of the “experimental philosophy” movement, and he has therefore published widely in both philosophy and psychology. He is coeditor, with Shaun Nichols, of the volume Experimental Philosophy (OUP, 2008).
Shaun Nichols holds a joint appointment in philosophy and cognitive science at the University of Arizona. He is author of Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment, coauthor (with Stephen Stich) of Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretense, Self-Awareness and Understanding Other Minds, and coeditor (with Joshua Knobe) of Experimental Philosophy (OUP, 2008).
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