Some compatibilists find it hard to believe that a large majority of the world actually does intuitively believe in the incoherent definition of free will. They think it’s fine and dandy to redefine the word as if the other definition is of no concern what-so-ever. Others realize that people do actually have these intuitions but look to evade such by redefining free will. Such evasion is, however, very problematic. Understanding that we could not have, of our own accord, done otherwise, is a very important understanding with implications that could change the world (in positive ways) if everyone understood such.
The fact that a majority of people think others could have done otherwise, and who place moral blameworthiness and praiseworthiness (not just for the sake of utility) on to people who in fact couldn’t have done, of their own accord, otherwise, is a fact that must be dealt with. We cannot progress if we are stuck in these antiquated ideas that our intuitions create and enforce. They are harmful ideas, and more than that, they are fictions. If you don’t know why such free will ability is logically incoherent or why we truly need to abandon the belief in such, check out a copy of Breaking the Free Will Illusion.
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And thank you so much for your continued learning, educating, and support of this awesome topic. For more information on this particular study, read an article about it here:
Common Intuitions about Free Will (and how it needs to be defined)
Note: Per the study: “Participants were drawn from an Honors student colloquium and several introductory philosophy classes at Florida State University (before studying the free will problem). Any participants who indicated that they had taken a previous college philosophy course were excluded from the results. We also excluded those participants who missed the manipulation check and the few who answered ‘‘I don’t know’’ in response to the experimental question.”
Due to the fact that such is a study of university students (undergraduates), I think the 76% is a cautious one that is probably much higher in an average town for a general population.
Nahmias, E., S. Morris, T. Nadelhoffer, and J. turner. 2006. Surveying freedom: Folk intuitions about free will and moral responsibility. Philosophical Psychology 18:561-584.
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