Hard determinists want us to abandon our concepts of "free will" and "moral responsibility". They argue that the picture that science convincingly paints of a deterministic universe in which all of our decisions are caused by factors beyond our control renders these concepts antiquated and redundant. But what if the hard determinists seriously misrepresent what ordinary folk and the law mean by "free will" and "moral responsibility"? What if these ideas are not metaphysically loaded in the way hard determinists imagine? A new breed of experimental philosophers have left their armchairs and conducted empirical studies to find out how ordinary folk really understand these concepts. In this essay, Leslie Allan reviews four of these key experiments and comes to some surprising conclusions. What do you think? Have the hard determinists got it all wrong and are we really free to choose after all?
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