Introspection and the Phenomenology of Free Will: Problems and Prospects

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Inspired and informed by the work of Russ Hurlburt and Eric Schwitzgebel in their 'Describing Inner Experience', we do two things in this commentary. First, we discuss the degree of reliability that introspective methods might be expected to deliver across a range of types of experience. Second, we explore the phenomenology of agency as it bears on the topic of free will. We pose a number of poten-tial problems for attempts to use introspective methods to answer var-ious questions about the phenomenology of free-will experience -- questions such as this: does such experience have metaphysical-liber-tarian satisfaction conditions? We then discuss the prospects for over-coming some of these problems via approaches such as Hurlburt's DES methodology, the so-called 'talk aloud' protocol, and forms of abduction that combine introspection with non-introspection-based forms of evidence.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Arizona, Email: 2: Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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