Incompatibilists often claim that we experience our agency as incompatible with determinism, while compatibilists challenge this claim. This chapter reports a series of experiments that focus on whether the experience of having an ability to do otherwise is taken to be at odds with determinism. It was found that participants in the studies described their experience as incompatibilist whether the decision was (i) present-focused or retrospective, (ii) imagined or actual, (iii) morally salient or morally neutral. The only case in which participants did not give incompatibilist judgments was when the question was explicitly about whether one’s ignorance of the future was compatible with determinism. This lends empirical support to claims made by incompatibilists about the experience of agency, while also showing that compatibilist accounts of ability are inadequate to the reported phenomenology. These results also inform recent debates about the presuppositions of deliberation.
|Title of host publication||Oxford studies in agency and responsibility|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
- free will
- experimental philosophy