The folk psychology of free will: an argument against compatibilism

Gregg D. Caruso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents existing results and experimental evidence in social psychology to argue against the compatibilist thesis that our folk-psychological notions of freedom and moral responsibility are completely consistent with the acceptance of determinism. In section 1, I spell out the compatibilist position and briely discuss the standard incompatibilist argument - the so-called consequence argument. In section 2, I take a closer look at the folk psychology of free will and argue that, contra the compatibilist, recent empirical research by Shaun Nichols, Joshua Knobe and others, reveals that our folk-psychological intuitions are essentially incompatibilist and libertarian in nature. I conclude in section 3 by examining the phenomenology of agentive experience and argue that it further undermines the compatibilist thesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-89
Number of pages34
JournalKriterion (Austria)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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