You Can Deny Free Will Exists and Not Be a Jerk

If we’re not accountable for our actions, why not just follow our impulses, including the dark ones? But new research reaches a very different conclusion. In a series of studies, it finds no relationship between moral behavior and one’s belief in free will, or lack thereof. “The association between free-will beliefs and moral behavior may be greatly overstated,” write University of Melbourne psychologist Damien Crone and University of Oxford philosopher Neil Levy. “There is good reason to doubt that free-will beliefs have any substantial implications for everyday moral behavior.” The researchers describe their unexpected findings in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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