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)
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
Publication date: November 1, 2004