Joshua Knobe and Eddy Nahmias

Joshua Knobe and Eddy Nahmias on experimental approaches to free will.

Note: This is part of a series of PTV discussions involving contributors to Machery and O’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy (2014)

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Knobe and Nahmias begin with an overview of the early history and aims of experimental philosophy. Then they discuss experiments on the contrast between bypassing and throughpassing intuitions about free will (8:57); Nahmias’s “theory lite view,” according to which ordinary people have no strong views about the relation between mind and brain (17:34); whether the folk have a causal or an interventionist view of agency (24:17); the effect of descriptions of determinism on folk intuitions (32:52); and Nahmias’s work on “willusionism,” inspired by his critical view of certain popularized versions of free-will skepticism (41:47). Finally, Knobe and Nahmias consider future results that could resolve some of their disagreements (48:49) and forecast the next big steps in experimental philosophy of free will (57:00).

Related works

by Knobe:
“Free Will and the Scientific Vision” in Machery and O’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy (2014)
with John Doris: “Strawsonian Variations: Folk Morality and the Search for a Unified Theory” (2010)
with Shaun Nichols: “Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions” (2007)

by Nahmias:
with Morgan Thompson: “A Naturalistic Vision of Free Will” in Machery and O’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy (2014)
“Is Free Will an Illusion? Confronting Challenges from the Modern Mind Sciences” (forthcoming)
with Dylan Murray: “Explaining Away Incompatibilist Intuitions” (2012)
“Why ‘Willusionism’ Leads to Bad Results: Comments
on Baumeister, Crescioni, and Alquist”
(2009)
with Coates and Kvaran: “Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and
Mechanism: Experiments on Folk Intuitions”
(2007)

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