|IS BELIEF IN FREE WILL A CULTURAL UNIVERSAL?
Philosophers have long divided into two traditions on the subject of determinism and freedom. Incompatibilists have argued that we -- presumably all of us -- have as our idea of freedom something inconsistent with determinism. Compatibilists have argued that we have as our idea of freedom something consistent with determinism. Ted Honderich and others, a minority in the course of philosophical history, argue that we plainly have both ideas. Joshua Knobe and colleagues have the distinction of carrying out experimental research into our actual ideas. It has revealed surprising patterns in our 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. This has now been extended to a cross-cultural study examining intuitions about free will in subjects from the United States, Hong Kong, India and Colombia. The results -- turn to them here -- revealed a striking degree of cross-cultural convergence. For some of the earlier research, go to Moral Responsibility and Determinism by Knobe and Shaun Nichols and Folk Intuitions on Free Will by Nichols.