David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Philosophical Research 24:505-527 (1999)
In a way that harks back to Anglo-American philosophy of the 1950s and 1960s, this essay contends that the traditional “free will” problem is a spurious problem generated by systematic misuse of the terms employed in discussing moral responsibility. Illustrations of these misuses from sources old and new are provided, mainly in the footnotes. Attention is called to the proper use of the terms, which allows us to frame the questions pertinent to the determination of someone’s moral responsibility for a particular action or omission. No attempt is made to answer these questions because the justifications for the answers would require reference to the particular facts surrounding any given case, as well as estimations of their relevance and importance. The value of the essay lies rather in redirecting attention away from irrelevant matters and towards those that do count
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