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09/16/2014

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Since I brought this up, and made a brief comment at DN, I thought I'd reiterate it here.

This paper provides some grounds to think that it may be wrong to draw the conclusion that emotional reactions to less abstract X-phi cases of deterministic FW scenarios is the culprit for apparent folk favoritism for compatibilist responsibility intuitions in these cases as against apparent folk favoritism for incompatibilist responsibility intuitions for more abstract cases of deterministic FW cases. Meta-analytical problems aside, if this result is correct, then what would explain the disparity?

I suggested at DN:

"I wonder if the folk try to stick to consistency with predisposed inclinations toward incompatibilism in the abstract cases (treasuring open-future, controlled choice), but sway toward more pragmatism about specific cases, seeing that some FW-related job has to get done. That might at least pry essential concerns about emotions out of the picture."

To expand a bit. Generalized cases of deterministic agents might call up predispositions for treasured beliefs about our open-futured hopes of controlling our own lives. But specific cases of deterministic agents might call up more pragmatic values of assigning responsibility even if generalized expansive values about control have to be sacrificed. If this is so, then the role of emotion is diminished, or at least moved more relevantly to explain why we might value different things in different contexts.

I have no precise thesis here. I just wonder if pragmatism has a role to play in sorting out the X-phi data.

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