The folk metaphysics of free action and moral responsibility

There is an ongoing debate concerning whether ordinary intuitions are incompabilitist, namely, whether folk conceptions of free action, including mental actions such as decisions, and moral responsibility imply the falsity of determinism. Some have claimed that ordinary intuitions are incompatibilist; others that on the contrary they are compatibilist. The former have argued that compatibilist intuitions are the result of performance biases clouding the expression of folk conceptions; the latter have argued that ordinary intuitions are incompatilist only regarding fatalism or mechanism, not determinism. Thus, the debate is rather about which types of broad metaphysical assumptions might be incompatible with folk conceptions of free action and moral responsibility. Our aim is to address this issue. In collaboration with one of our associate researchers (Cynthia Macdonald), we have elaborated a research design that promises to provide the sort of evidence that can solve the impasses of the current literature and show the way to a thorough characterization of the folk metaphysics of free action and moral responsibility.
Relevant bibliography
Felipe De Brigard, Eric Mandelbaum & David Ripley (2009). Responsibility and the Brain Sciences. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 12 (5).
Feltz, A., Cokely, E. and Nadelhoffer, T. (2009). Natural Compatibilism versus Natural Incompatibilism: Back to the Drawing Board. Mind & Language, 24, 1-23.
Hagop Sarkissian, Amita Chatterjee, Joshua Knobe, Felipe De Brigard & Shaun Nichols (2010). Is Belief in Free Will a Cultural Universal? Mind & Language, 25 (3), 346-358.
Holton, R. (2009). Determinism, Self-efficacy and the Phenomenology of Free Will. Inquiry, 52, 412-428.
Moore, A. and Malle, B. (2010). From Uncaused Will to Conscious Choice: The Need to Study, Not Speculate About People’s Folk Concept of Free Will. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 1, 211-224.
Nahmias, E., Morris, S., Nadelhoffer, T. and Turner, J. (2004). The phenomenology of free will. The Journal of Consciousness Studies, 11, 162 – 179.
Nahmias, E., Morris , S., Nadelhoffer, T. and Turner, J . (2005). Surveying freedom: folk intuitions about free will and moral responsibility. Philosophical Psychology, 18, 561 – 584.
Nahmias, E. (2006). Folk fears about freedom and responsibility: determinism vs. reductionism. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 6, 215 – 237 .
Nahmias, E., Coates, D. and Kvaran, T . (2007). Free will, moral responsibility, and mechanism: experiments on folk intuitions.Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 31, 214-242 .
Nahmias, E., Morris , S., Nadelhoffer, T. and Turner , J . (2006). Is incompatibilism intuitive? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 73, 28–53.
Nichols, S. (2004). The folk psychology of free will: fits and starts. Mind & Language, 19, 473–502.
Nichols, S. (2006a). Folk intuitions on free will. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 6, 57– 86.
Nichols, S. (2006b). Free will and the folk: response to commentators. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 6, 305–320 .
Nichols, S. and Knobe, J. (2007). Moral responsibility and determinism: the cognitive science of folk intuition. Noûs, 41, 663–685 .
Sousa, P. (2006). On folk conceptions of mind, agency and morality. Journal of Cognition and Culture,  6, 1-25.
Sousa, P. (2009). A cognitive approach to moral responsibility—the case of a failed attempt to kill. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 9 (3-4), 171–194.
Turner, J. and Nahmias, E . (2006). Are the folk agent-causationists? Mind & Language, 21, 597–609.
Viney, W., Waldman, D., and Barchilon, J. (1982). Attitudes toward Punishment in Relation to Beliefs in Free Will and Determinism, Human Relations, 35.
Viney, W., Parker-Martin, P., and Dotten, S. D.H. (1988). Beliefs in Free Will and Determinism and Lack of Relation to Punishment Rationale and Magnitude. Journal of General Psychology, 115.
Vohs, K. and Schooler, J. (2008). The Value of Believing in Free Will—Encoraging a Belief in Determinism Increases Cheating.Psychological Science, 19, 49-54.
Weigel, C. (Forthcoming). Distance, Anger and Freedom: An account of the Role of Abstraction in Compatibilist and Imcompatibilist Intuitions. Philosophical Psychology.
Woolfolk , R. , Doris , J. and Darley , J. (2006). Identification, situational constraint and social cognition: studies in the attribution of moral responsibility. Cognition, 100, 283 – 301.

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