Is Belief in Free Will a Cultural Universal

  title={Is Belief in Free Will a Cultural Universal},
  author={Felipe De Brigard},
  journal={Mind \& Language},
  • F. Brigard
  • Published 1 June 2010
  • Sociology
  • Mind & Language
Recent experimental research has revealed surprising patterns in people's intuitions about free will and moral responsibility. One limitation of this research, however, is that it has been conducted exclusively on people from Western cultures. The present paper extends previous research by presenting a cross-cultural study examining intuitions about free will and moral responsibility in subjects from the United States, Hong Kong, India and Colombia. The results revealed a striking degree of… 

Figures from this paper

The weirdness of belief in free will
This paper looks at the folk concept of free will and its critical assessment in the context of recent psychological research and finds that unlike Lithuanian, Chinese, Hindi and Mongolian lexical expressions of "free will" do not refer to the same concept free will.
For Whom Does Determinism Undermine Moral Responsibility? Surveying the Conditions for Free Will Across Cultures
Overall, participants tended to ascribe moral responsibility whether the perpetrator lacked sourcehood or alternate possibilities, but for American, European, and Middle Eastern participants, being the ultimate source of one’s actions promoted perceptions of free will and control as well as ascriptions of blame and punishment.
Forget the Folk: Moral Responsibility Preservation Motives and Other Conditions for Compatibilism
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.
Indeterministic intuitions and the Spinozan strategy
This article focuses on philosophical views that attempt to explain widespread belief in indeterministic choice by following a strategy that harkens back at least to Spinoza. According to this
Laypersons’ Beliefs and Intuitions About Free Will and Determinism
Overall, laypersons viewed the universe as allowing for human indeterminism, and they did so with certainty, and participants’ free will beliefs had only weak impact on realism, happiness, and learning intuitions.
Cognition and consequences of the belief in free will
Free will is a core concept in many modern societies and religions, and the belief in free will is commonly held by a high percentage of people across the world. The centrality of the concept of free
Experimental Philosophy and the Problem of Free Will
Experimental philosophy aims to address issues of why people reject determinism and what drives people’s conflicted attitudes about responsibility and thereby illuminate the philosophical problem of free will.
Free will beliefs are better predicted by dualism than determinism beliefs across different cultures
Assessing differences in FWB in a large, representative, replicated online survey study in the US and Singapore finds that libertarian, compatibilist, and dualist, intuitions were related to FWB, but that these intuition were often logically inconsistent.
Free will, determinism, and moral responsibility
The first half of this thesis is a survey of the PSR, followed by consideration of arguments for and against the principle. This survey spans from the Ancient Greeks to the present day, and gives the
The Folk Psychology of Free Will: An Argument Against Compatibilism
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


Folk Fears about Freedom and Responsibility: Determinism vs. Reductionism
My initial work, with collaborators Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer, and Jason Turner (2005, 2006), on surveying folk intuitions about free will and moral responsibility was designed primarily to
Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions
The dispute between compatibilists and incompatibilists must be one of the most persistent and heated deadlocks in Western philosophy. Incompatibilists maintain that people are not fully morally
Normativity and Epistemic Intuitions
In this paper we propose to argue for two claims. The first is that a sizable group of epistemological projects-a group which includes much of what has been done in epistemology in the analytic
Semantics, cross-cultural style
Results constitute prima facie evidence that semantic intuitions vary from culture to culture, and the paper argues that this fact raises questions about the nature of the philosophical enterprise of developing a theory of reference.
The cognitive science of morality : intuition and diversity
For much of the twentieth century, philosophy and science went their separate ways. In moral philosophy, fear of the so-called naturalistic fallacy kept moral philosophers from incorporating
Reviving Rawls's linguistic analogy: Operative principles and the causal structure of moral actions
The thesis we develop in this essay is that all humans are endowed with a moral faculty. The moral faculty enables us to produce moral judgments on the basis of the causes and consequences of
Was Free Will a Pseudo-Problem?
If we cannot be satisfied with the conclusion that “the notion of obligability is…delusive,”1then it appears that we are well advised to examine the premises leading to this conclusion. In this
Natural Compatibilism versus Natural Incompatibilism: Back to the Drawing Board
:  In the free will literature, some compatibilists and some incompatibilists claim that their views best capture ordinary intuitions concerning free will and moral responsibility. One goal of
Universal moral grammar: theory, evidence and the future
  • John Mikhail
  • Medicine, Psychology
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2007
A framework for universal moral grammar is outlined and some of the evidence that supports it is described, and a novel computational analysis of moral intuitions is proposed and it is argued that future research on this topic should draw more directly on legal theory.
How to Think about the Problem of Free Will
In this essay I present what is, I contend, the free-will problem properly thought through, or at least presented in a form in which it is possible to think about it without being constantly led