Journal article

Forget the Folk: Moral Responsibility Preservation Motives and Other Conditions for Compatibilism

Cory J Clark, Bo M Winegard, Roy F Baumeister

Frontiers in Psychology | FRONTIERS MEDIA SA | Published : 2019


For years, experimental philosophers have attempted to discern whether laypeople find free will compatible with a scientifically deterministic understanding of the universe, yet no consensus has emerged. The present work provides one potential explanation for these discrepant findings: People are strongly motivated to preserve free will and moral responsibility, and thus do not have stable, logically rigorous notions of free will. Seven studies support this hypothesis by demonstrating that a variety of logically irrelevant (but motivationally relevant) features influence compatibilist judgments. In Study 1, participants who were asked to consider the possibility that our universe is determin..

View full abstract