The studies we report indicate that it is possible to manipulate explicit ascriptions of consciousness by manipulating whether an agent’s behavior is deterministically caused. In addition, we explore whether this impact of determinism on consciousness is direct, or whether it is mediated by notions linked to agency–notions like moral responsibility, free will, deliberate choice, and sensitivity to moral reasons. We provide evidence of mediation. This result extends work on attributions of consciousness and their connection to attributions of agency by Adam Arico, Brian Fiala, and Shaun Nichols and supports it against recent criticisms.

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Philosophical Psychology
Department of Philosophy

Björnsson, G. (Gunnar), & Shepherd, J. (2020). Determinism and attributions of consciousness. Philosophical Psychology. doi:10.1080/09515089.2020.1743256