Is agentive experience compatible with determinism?

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Many philosophers think not only that we are free to act otherwise than we do, but also that we experience being free in this way. Terry Horgan argues that such experience is compatibilist: it is accurate even if determinism is true. According to Horgan, when people judge their experience as incompatibilist, they misinterpret it. While Horgan's position is attractive, it incurs significant theoretical costs. I sketch an alternative way to be a compatibilist about experiences of free agency that avoids these costs. In brief, I assume that experiences of freedom have a sort of phenomenal content that is inaccurate if determinism is true, just as many incompatibilists claim. Still, I argue that these experiences also have another sort of phenomenal content that is normally accurate, even assuming determinism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2–19
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophical Explorations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • free will
  • moral responsibility
  • determinism
  • phenomenology
  • phenomenal content
  • agentive experience
  • Horgan
  • compatibilism
  • incompatibilism
  • libertarianism
  • cognitive penetration
  • Chalmers
  • Free will


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