Introspection and the phenomenology of free will: Problems and prospects

Terry Horgan, Mark Timmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Inspired and informed by the work of Russ Hurlburt and Eric Schwitzgebel in their 'Describing Inner Experience', we do two things in this commentary. First, we discuss the degree of reliability that introspective methods might be expected to deliver across a range of types of experience. Second, we explore the phenomenology of agency as it bears on the topic of free will. We pose a number of potential problems for attempts to use introspective methods to answer various questions about the phenomenology of free-will experience - questions such as this: does such experience have metaphysical-libertarian satisfaction conditions?We then discuss the prospects for overcoming some of these problems via approaches such as Hurlburt's DES methodology, the so-called 'talk aloud' protocol, and forms of abduction that combine introspection with non- ntrospection-based forms of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-205
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Artificial Intelligence


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