The BCN Challenge to Compatibilist Free Will and Personal Responsibility

Maureen Sie, Arno Wouters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Many philosophers ignore developments in the behavioral, cognitive, and neurosciences that purport to challenge our ideas of free will and responsibility. The reason for this is that the challenge is often framed as a denial of the idea that we are able to act differently than we do. However, most philosophers think that the ability to do otherwise is irrelevant to responsibility and free will. Rather it is our ability to act for reasons that is crucial. We argue that the scientific findings indicate that it is not so obvious that our views of free will and responsibility can be grounded in the ability to act for reasons without introducing metaphysical obscurities. This poses a challenge to philosophers. We draw the conclusion that philosophers are wrong not to address the recent scientific developments and that scientists are mistaken in formulating their challenge in terms of the freedom to do otherwise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-133
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Compatibilism
  • Acting for reasons
  • Reasons-responsiveness
  • Personal responsibility
  • Free will
  • Determinism
  • Apparant mental causation
  • Moral judgment
  • Disgust


Dive into the research topics of 'The BCN Challenge to Compatibilist Free Will and Personal Responsibility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this