Laypersons' Beliefs and Intuitions About Free Will and Determinism: New Insights Linking the Social Psychology and Experimental Philosophy Paradigms

Gilad Feldman*, Subramanya Prasad Chandrashekar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

We linked between the social psychology and experimental philosophy paradigms for the study of folk intuitions and beliefs regarding the concept of free will to answer three questions: (1) What intuitions do people have about free will and determinism? (2) Do free will beliefs predict differences in free will and determinism intuitions? and (3) Is there more to free will and determinism than experiencing certainty or uncertainty about the nature of the universe? Overall, laypersons viewed the universe as allowing for human indeterminism, and they did so with certainty. Examining intuitions of prosociality, future orientation, learning, meaningfulness, human uniqueness, and well-being, ratings were highest in the indeterministic universe condition and lowest in the deterministic universe condition, both significantly different from the uncertain universe condition. Participants' free will beliefs had only weak impact on realism, happiness, and learning intuitions but did not reverse the general intuition favoring indeterminism and showed no impact on other intuitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-549
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • free will
  • experimental philosophy
  • belief in free will
  • intuitions
  • DOWN-TO-EARTH
  • MORAL RESPONSIBILITY
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • INTENTIONAL ACTION
  • CONSCIOUS-WILL
  • EXPERIENCE
  • CHOICE
  • PERFORMANCE
  • PUNISHMENT
  • ASYMMETRY

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