The folk psychology of free will: Fits and starts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

According to agent-causal accounts of free will, agents have the capacity to cause actions, and for a given action, an agent could have done otherwise. This paper uses existing results and presents experimental evidence to argue that young children deploy a notion of agent-causation. If young children do have such a notion, however, it remains quite unclear how they acquire it. Several possible acquisition stories are canvassed, including the possibility that the notion of agent-causation develops from a prior notion of obligation. Finally, the paper sets out how this work might illuminate the philosophical problem of free will.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-502
Number of pages30
JournalMind and Language
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

freedom of will
Personal Autonomy
Causality
psychology
Psychology
obligation
cause
evidence
Free Will
Folk Psychology
Agent Causation
Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics

Cite this

The folk psychology of free will : Fits and starts. / Nichols, Shaun B.

In: Mind and Language, Vol. 19, No. 5, 11.2004, p. 473-502.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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