Moral Psychology, Volume 4

Moral Psychology, Volume 4

Free Will and Moral Responsibility

Edited by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Leading philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists address issues of moral responsibility and free will, drawing on new findings from empirical science.

A Bradford Book





Leading philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists address issues of moral responsibility and free will, drawing on new findings from empirical science.

Traditional philosophers approached the issues of free will and moral responsibility through conceptual analysis that seldom incorporated findings from empirical science. In recent decades, however, striking developments in psychology and neuroscience have captured the attention of many moral philosophers. This volume of Moral Psychology offers essays, commentaries, and replies by leading philosophers and scientists who explain and use empirical findings from psychology and neuroscience to illuminate old and new problems regarding free will and moral responsibility.

The contributors—who include such prominent scholars as Patricia Churchland, Daniel Dennett, and Michael Gazzaniga—consider issues raised by determinism, compatibilism, and libertarianism; epiphenomenalism, bypassing, and naturalism; naturalism; and rationality and situationism. These writings show that although science does not settle the issues of free will and moral responsibility, it has enlivened the field by asking novel, profound, and important questions.

ContributorsRoy F. Baumeister, Tim Bayne, Gunnar Björnsson, C. Daryl Cameron, Hanah A. Chapman, William A. Cunningham, Patricia S. Churchland, Christopher G. Coutlee, Daniel C. Dennett, Ellen E. Furlong, Michael S. Gazzaniga, Patrick Haggard, Brian Hare, Lasana T. Harris, John-Dylan Haynes, Richard Holton, Scott A. Huettel, Robert Kane, Victoria K. Lee, Neil Levy, Alfred R. Mele, Christian Miller, Erman Misirlisoy, P. Read Montague, Thomas Nadelhoffer, Eddy Nahmias, William T. Newsome, B. Keith Payne, Derk Pereboom, Adina L. Roskies, Laurie R. Santos, Timothy Schroeder, Michael N. Shadlen, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Chandra Sripada, Christopher L. Suhler, Manuel Vargas, Gideon Yaffe


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262026680 496 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 9 figures


$45.00 X ISBN: 9780262525473 496 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 9 figures


Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Philosophy Department and Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, is Core Faculty at Duke's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and has secondary appointments in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and in the Duke University Law School.


  • There is much to like about this volume. Sinnott-Armstong has again done an excellent job orchestrating: topics are well-chosen, contributors include many leaders in both philosophy and cognitive science, and response authors are well-matched with target article authors. Much of the volume is pitched at a level accessible to both specialists and interested non-specialists alike.

    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


  • This is an outstanding collection of work at the intersection between science and traditional approaches to moral responsibility (and free will). The contributors are among the very best people working in these areas. The book is strong evidence for the contention that progress in understanding freedom of the will and moral responsibility is often enhanced when philosophers and scientists work collaboratively. Highly recommended.

    John Martin Fischer

    University of California, Riverside

  • Clear, logical, and cogent are not often words associated with discussions of free will or morality—yet the chapters in this book are just that. Experts who have done a lot of thinking about these issues raise points that I would guess not many readers will have thought of, and the diverse array of perspectives is explained so well that readers who are not immersed in the science, philosophy, and debates about free will and moral responsibility will learn a lot and keep reading. I certainly did—and then immediately started telling colleagues to read this book.

    Kathleen Vohs

    Co-editor of Free Will and Consciousness: How Might They Work?

  • With this volume, Sinnott-Armstrong has created a much-needed point of entry into the free will debate. Drawing heavily on the neuroscience of choice, he deftly balances a dizzying array of perspectives built in large part on empirical facts. You experience free will emerging as an exciting yet profoundly complicated scientific challenge.

    Scott Grafton

    University of California, Santa Barbara