The Folk Psychology of Free Will: Fits and Starts

Author: Nichols, Shaun

Source: Mind & Language, Volume 19, Number 5, November 2004 , pp. 473-502(30)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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Abstract:

Abstract: 

According to agent‐causal accounts of free will, agents have the capacity to cause actions, and for a given action, an agent could have done otherwise. This paper uses existing results and presents experimental evidence to argue that young children deploy a notion of agent‐causation. If young children do have such a notion, however, it remains quite unclear how they acquire it. Several possible acquisition stories are canvassed, including the possibility that the notion of agent‐causation develops from a prior notion of obligation. Finally, the paper sets out how this work might illuminate the philosophical problem of free will.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0268-1064.2004.00269.x

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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