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Summary It is widely though not quite universally held that there is a nomological or a constitutive link between free will and moral responsibility: at minimum that acting with free will is a necessary condition for moral responsibility (though the free act need not be a proximate cause of the behavior or state for which the agent is responsible). This link certainly explains the interest of the free will debate for many people. Some philosophers stipulate that by free will they mean the control condition on moral responsibility. Dissenters point out that it seems we may freely perform actions that have no moral significance whatsoever. They may also draw attention to aspects of human life we value independent of moral responsibility that might be underwritten by free will: self-respect, pride, love, and so forth.
Key works The assumption that free will is a necessary condition of moral responsibility is so widespread that listing key works here would produce a list that is more or less co-extensive with the key works on free will. John Martin Fischer's important workcan be read as dissenting from the near consensus view; see especially Fischer & Ravizza 1999. Whereas Fischer may be read as claiming we are morally responsible, whether or not we have free will, Waller 2011 argues that we may have free will but are not morally responsible.
Introductions Eshleman 2008
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  1. Free-Will and Moral Responsibility in the Works of Charles Arthur Campbell.Natalie Abrams - 1972 - Dissertation, Columbia University
  2. Theodicy Without Blame.Marilyn Adams - 1988 - Philosophical Topics 16 (2):215-245.
  3. Mittleres Wissen und das Problem des Übels [Middle knowledge and the problem of evil].Robert Merrihew Adams & Vincent C. Müller - 1998 - In Christian Jäger (ed.), Analytische Religionsphilosophie. Ferdinand Schöningh. pp. 253-272.
    Wenn Präsident Kennedy nicht erschossen worden wäre, hätte er dann Nordvietnam bombardiert? Das weiß Gott allein. Oder doch nicht? Weiß wenigstens Er, was Kennedy getan hätte? ... Die Jesuiten behaupteten unter anderem, daß viele menschliche Handlungen in dem Sinne frei seien, daß die Ausführenden nicht logisch oder kausal gezwungen seien, sie auszuführen. („Frei“ wird im vorliegenden Aufsatz stets in diesem Sinne verwendet werden.) Wie behält Gott dann die Kontrolle über die menschliche Geschichte? Nicht dadurch, daß Er menschliche Handlungen kausal determiniert, (...)
  4. Resisting Tracing's Siren Song.Craig Agule - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (1):1-24.
    Drunk drivers and other culpably incapacitated wrongdoers are often taken to pose a problem for reasons-responsiveness accounts of moral responsibility. These accounts predicate moral responsibility upon an agent having the capacities to perceive and act upon moral reasons, and the culpably incapacitated wrongdoers lack exactly those capacities at the time of their wrongdoing. Many reasons-responsiveness advocates thus expand their account of responsibility to include a tracing condition: The culpably incapacitated wrongdoer is blameworthy despite his incapacitation precisely because he is responsible (...)
  5. The Free Will/Determinism Controversy: Its Implications for Moral Reasoning and Education.Gan Hun Ahn - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Missouri - Kansas City
    The purpose of this study is to propose a theory of moral education based on a concept of moral freedom that is philosophically sound and educationally meaningful. This was achieved through a critical analysis of several major positions regarding the free will/determinism controversy. ;The free will problem is examined in terms of the trichotomy of nonreconciling determinism/reconciling determinism/libertarianism. and by the dichotomy of incompatibilism vs. compatibilism. This study defends reconciling determinism in the trichotomy and compatibilism in the dichotomy. The difference (...)
  6. Freedom and Moral Sentiment. [REVIEW]Donald Ainslie - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (4):596-598.
  7. The Concept of “Free Agency” in Monotheistic Religions: Implications for Global Business.Abbas J. Ali, Robert C. Camp & Manton Gibbs - 2005 - Journal of Business Ethics 60 (1):103-112.
    The current debate on “free agency” seems to highlight the romantic aspects of free agent and considers it a genuine response to changing economic conditions (e.g., high-unemployment rate, importance of knowledge in the labor market, the eclipse of organizational loyalty, and self pride). Little attention, if any, has been given to the religious root of the free agency concept and its persistent existence across history. In this paper, the current discourse on free agency and the conditions that have led to (...)
  8. Self-Forming Actions.Robert Allen - 2007 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 81:263-278.
    The following is a now popular argument for free will skepticism:1. If free will exists, then people make themselves.2. People do not make themselves.3. Thus, free will does not exist.It would make no sense to hold someone responsible, either for what he’s like or what he’s done, unless he has made himself. But no one makes himself. A person’s character is imposed upon him by Nature and others. To rebut, I intend to lean on common usage, according to which 2 (...)
  9. An Unconditioned Will: The Role of Temporality in Freedom and Agency.Roman Altshuler - 2010 - Dissertation, SUNY Stony Brook
    Eliminativists about free will and moral responsibility argue that no action can be free and responsible because in order to be actions, our movements must be caused by features of our character or will. However, either the will is constituted by states that are themselves produced by events outside our control, or it is constituted by our own choices, which must themselves stem from our will in order to be up to us. Thus, any attempt to account for freedom and (...)
  10. Being Morally Responsible for an Action Versus Acting Responsibly or Irresponsibly.Susan Leigh Anderson - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:451-462.
    In her article “Asymmetrical Freedom,” and more recently in her book Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf claims to have given us a new theory to account for when we can be held morally responsible for our actions. I believe that she has confused “being morally responsible for an action” with “acting responsibly or irresponsibly.” I will argue that Wolf has given us a nice analysis of the latter concepts, but not of the former one as she intended. I do not (...)
  11. Revisiting Strawsonian Arguments From Inescapability.Szigeti Andras - 2012 - Philosophica 85 (2):91-121.
    Peter Strawson defends the thesis that determinism is irrelevant to the justifiability of responsibility-attributions. In this paper, I want to examine various arguments advanced by Strawson in support of this thesis. These arguments all draw on the thought that the practice of responsibility is inescapable. My main focus is not so much the metaphysical details of Strawsonian compatibilism, but rather the more fundamental idea that x being inescapable may be reason for us to regard x as justified. I divide Strawsonian (...)
  12. Moral Responsibility and Desert of Praise and Blame.Audrey L. Anton - 2015 - Lexington Books.
    Through critical examination of three main contemporary approaches to describing moral responsibility, this book illustrates why philosophers must take into account the relationship between retrospective moral responsibility and desert of praise or blame. The author advances the moral attitude account, whereby desert of praise and blame depends on the agent’s moral attitudes in response to moral reasons, and retrospective moral responsibility results from expressions of those attitudes in overt behavior.
  13. Why We Excuse.Louise Antony - 1979 - Tulane Studies in Philosophy 28:63-70.
  14. Free Will and the Divergence Problem.Takuo Aoyama, Shogo Shimizu & Yuki Yamada - 2015 - Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 23:1-18.
    This paper presents what the authors call the ‘divergence problem’ regarding choosing between different future possibilities. As is discussed in the first half, the central issue of the problem is the difficulty of temporally locating the ‘active cause’ on the modal divergent diagram. In the second half of this paper, we discuss the ‘second-person freedom’ which is, strictly, neither compatibilist negative freedom nor incompatibilist positive freedom. The divergence problem leads us to two hypothetical views (i.e. the view of single-line determination (...)
  15. Determinism, Free Will, and Moral Responsbility.Paul Appiah-Sekyere - 2013 - Philosophy Study 3 (11).
    Human beings live amidst several bonds. These bonds often place both internal and external limitations that apparently create the view that a human being has no free will but is determined. This paper explores the controversial issue whether a human being possesses free will to make free choices or is determined. It is the stance of this study that if one does not have free will then one cannot be morally responsible for one’s actions and consequently praise and blame would (...)
  16. Consciousness and Moral Responsibility, by Levy, Neil.Nomy Arpaly - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):829-831.
  17. Freedom and Determinism in Indian Thought.J. P. Atreya - 1974 - Proceedings of the XVth World Congress of Philosophy 4:289-291.
  18. Properly Proleptic Blame.Benjamin Bagley - 2017 - Ethics 127 (4):852-882.
    Crucially, blame can be addressed to its targets, as an implicit demand for recognition. But when we ask whether offenders would actually appreciate this demand, via a sound deliberative route from their existing motivations, we face a puzzle. If they would, their offense reflects a deliberative mistake, and blame’s hostility seems unnecessary. If they wouldn’t, addressing them is futile, and blame’s emotional engagement seems unwarranted. To resolve this puzzle, I develop an account of blame as a proleptic response to indeterminacy (...)
  19. Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility. [REVIEW]Andrew M. Bailey - 2013 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  20. Moral Responsibility Without Libertarianism.Baker Lynne Rudder - 2006 - Noûs 40 (2):307-330.
  21. What is Human Freedom?Lynne Rudder Baker - unknown
    After centuries of reflection, the issue of human freedom remains vital largely because of its connection to moral responsibility. When I ask—What is human freedom?—I mean to be asking what kind of freedom is required for moral responsibility? Questions about moral responsibility are intimately connected to questions about social policy and justice; so, the issue of moral responsibility—of desert, of whether or not anyone is ever really praiseworthy or blameworthy—has practical as well as theoretical significance.
  22. A Funny Picture of Freedom, and How to Treat It.Donald R. Barker - 1976 - Behavior and Philosophy 4 (1):119.
  23. Historical Moral Responsibility: Is The Infinite Regress Problem Fatal?Eric Christian Barnes - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (4):533-554.
    Some compatibilists have responded to the manipulation argument for incompatibilism by proposing an historical theory of moral responsibility which, according to one version, requires that agents be morally responsible for having their pro-attitudes if they are to be morally responsible for acting on them. This proposal, however, leads obviously to an infinite regress problem. I consider a proposal by Haji and Cuypers that addresses this problem and argue that it is unsatisfactory. I then go on to propose a new solution (...)
  24. Character Control and Historical Moral Responsibility.Eric Christian Barnes - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2311-2331.
    Some proponents of compatibilist moral responsibility have proposed an historical theory which requires that agents deploy character control in order to be morally responsible. An important type of argument for the character control condition is the manipulation argument, such as Mele’s example of Beth and Chuck. In this paper I show that Beth can be exonerated on various conditions other than her failure to execute character control—I propose a new character, Patty, who meets these conditions and is, I argue, morally (...)
  25. Brainwashing and Responsible Action.Ronald L. Barnette - 1979 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 60 (1):61.
  26. Free Will and Moral Responsibility in Video Games.Christopher Bartel - 2015 - Ethics and Information Technology 17 (4):285-293.
    Can a player be held morally responsible for the choices that she makes within a videogame? Do the moral choices that the player makes reflect in any way on the player’s actual moral sensibilities? Many videogames offer players the options to make numerous choices within the game, including moral choices. But the scope of these choices is quite limited. I attempt to analyze these issues by drawing on philosophical debates about the nature of free will. Many philosophers worry that, if (...)
  27. Determinism and Moral Perspectives.Elizabeth Lane Beardsley - 1960 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 21 (1):1-20.
  28. Responsibility as Responsiveness: Enacting a Dispositional Ethics of Encounter.Emily Beausoleil - 2017 - Political Theory 45 (3):291-318.
    With the normative demand to attend to social difference and an absence of universal evaluative terms with which to do so, recent theory has increasingly turned to the study of the affective rather than epistemological conditions of ethical encounter. This I call a “dispositional ethics” that construes responsibility as responsiveness. Recent articulations of such an ethics, notably in the most current work of Judith Butler, James Tully, Jade Larissa Schiff, and Ella Myers, highlight its connection to situated practices of concrete (...)
  29. Encyclopedia of Ethics.Lawrence C. Becker & Charlotte B. Becker (eds.) - 2001 - Routledge.
    The editors, working with a team of 325 renowned authorities in the field of ethics, have revised, expanded, and updated this classic encyclopedia. Along with the addition of 150 new entries, all of the original articles have been newly peer-reviewed and revised, bibliographies have been updated throughout, and the overall design of the work has been enhanced for easier access to cross-references and other reference features. New entries include * Aristotelian Ethics * Avicenna * Bad Faith * Beneficence * Categorical (...)
  30. Responsibility, Libertarians, and the “Facts as We Know Them”: A Concern-Based Construal of Strawson’s Reversal.David Beglin - 2018 - Ethics 128 (3):612-625.
    Here, I put forth a construal of P. F. Strawson’s so-called reversal, his view that what it means to be morally responsible is determined by our practices of holding responsible. The “concern-based” construal that I defend holds that what it means to be morally responsible is determined by the basic social concerns of which our practices are an expression. This construal, I argue, avoids a dilemma that Patrick Todd has recently raised for the reversal.
  31. On Free Will and on the Nature of Philosophy.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2015 - Iyyun 64:89-96.
  32. Moral Responsibility and Free Will.Mark H. Bernstein - 1981 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):1-10.
  33. Classical Compatibilism: Not Dead Yet.Bernard Berofsky - 2003 - In Michael McKenna & David Widerker (eds.), Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities: Essays on the Importance of Alternative Possibilities. Ashgate. pp. 107.
  34. Belief and Responsibility.Bernard Berofsky - 1989 - In Peter Slezak (ed.), Computers, Brains and Minds. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 95--122.
  35. Freedom From Necessity: The Metaphysical Basis of Responsibility.Bernard Berofsky - 1987 - Routledge.
    Introduction No philosophical problem is more deserving of the title 'the free will problem' than that concerning the assessment of the claim that a ...
  36. Free Will and Theodicy in Augustine: An Exposition and Critique.Fred Berthold - 1981 - Religious Studies 17 (4):525.
    Not only for Augustine, but for virtually all Christian theologians, the doctrine of free will is of critical importance for theodicy. The reason for this is easy to state: these theologians trace either all or much evil to human sin, which in turn is understood as an abuse of the free will with which human beings were endowed by their Creator. Augustine sums it very well: ‘… all that we call evil is either sin or punishment for sin’. The argument (...)
  37. Bernard Berofsky, Freedom From Necessity; The Metaphysical Basis of Responsibility Reviewed By.Robert W. Binkley - 1989 - Philosophy in Review 9 (4):129-131.
  38. McCANN, HJ-The Works of Agency.J. Bishop - 2001 - Philosophical Books 42 (3):232-232.
  39. Outsourcing the Deep Self: Deep Self Discordance Does Not Explain Away Intuitions in Manipulation Arguments.Gunnar Björnsson - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (5):637-653.
    According to manipulation arguments for incompatibilism, manipulation might undermine an agent’s responsibility even when the agent satisfies plausible compatibilist conditions on responsibility. According to Sripada, however, empirical data suggest that people take manipulation to undermine responsibility largely because they think that the manipulated act is in discord with the agent’s “deep self,” thus violating the plausible compatibilist condition of deep self concordance. This paper defends Sripada’s general methodological approach but presents data that strongly suggest that, contrary to Sripada’s contention, most (...)
  40. Traditional and Experimental Approaches to Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Gunnar Björnsson & Derk Pereboom - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Blackwell. pp. 142-57.
    Examines the relevance of empirical studies of responsibility judgments for traditional philosophical concerns about free will and moral responsibility. We argue that experimental philosophy is relevant to the traditional debates, but that setting up experiments and interpreting data in just the right way is no less difficult than negotiating traditional philosophical arguments. Both routes are valuable, but so far neither promises a way to secure significant agreement among the competing parties. To illustrate, we focus on three sorts of issues. For (...)
  41. Free Will Skepticism and Bypassing.Gunnar Björnsson & Derk Pereboom - 2014 - In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, Vol. 4. MIT Press. pp. 27–35.
    Discusses Eddy Nahmias' “Is Free Will an Illusion?”.
  42. Why Compatibilists Need Alternative Possibilities.Reid Blackman - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):529-544.
    Defenders of compatibilism occupy one of two camps: those who think that free will requires the ability to do otherwise, and those who deny this. Those compatibilists who think that free will requires the ability to do otherwise are interested in defending a reading of ‘can’ such that one can do otherwise even if determinism is true. By contrast, those compatibilists who think that free will does not require the ability to do otherwise tend to join incompatibilists in denying that (...)
  43. Determinism and Moral Responsibility.David Blumberg - 1971 - Journal of Value Inquiry 5 (3):207-211.
  44. Freedom and Mind Control.David C. Blumenfeld - 1988 - American Philosophical Quarterly 25 (July):215-27.
  45. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics 3.5, 1113b7-8 and Free Choice.Susanne Bobzien - 2014 - In R. Salles P. Destree (ed.), What is up to us? Studies on Causality and Responsibility in Ancient Philosophy. Academia Verlag.
    ABSTRACT: This is a short companion piece to my ‘Found in Translation – Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics III.5 1113b7-8 and its Reception’ in which I examine in close textual analysis the philosophical question whether these two lines from the Nicomachean Ethics provide any evidence that Aristotle discussed free choice – as is not infrequently assumed. The result is that they do not, and that the claim that they do tends to be based on a mistranslation of the Greek. (There is some (...)
  46. Did Epicurus Discover the Free-Will Problem?Susanne Bobzien - 2000 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 19:287-337.
    ABSTRACT: I argue that there is no evidence that Epicurus dealt with the kind of free-will problem he is traditionally associated with; i.e. that he discussed free choice or moral responsibility grounded on free choice, or that the "swerve" was involved in decision processes. Rather, for Epicurus, actions are fully determined by the agent's mental disposition at the outset of the action. Moral responsibility presupposes not free choice but that the person is unforced and causally responsible for the action. This (...)
  47. Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy.Susanne Bobzien - 1998 - Oxford University Press.
    Bobzien presents the definitive study of one of the most interesting intellectual legacies of the ancient Greeks: the Stoic theory of causal determinism. She explains what it was, how the Stoics justified it, and how it relates to their views on possibility, action, freedom, moral responsibility, moral character, fatalism, logical determinism and many other topics. She demonstrates the considerable philosophical richness and power that these ideas retain today.
  48. Die Kategorien Der Freiheit Bei Kant (Kant's Categories of Freedom).Susanne Bobzien - 1988 - Kant 1:193-220.
    NOTE: The English translation is listed separately. ABSTRACT: A general interpretation and close textual analysis of Kant’s theory of the categories of freedom (or categories of practical reason) in his Critique of Practical Reason. My main concerns in the paper are the following: (1) I show that Kant’s categories of freedom have primarily three functions: as conditions of the possibility for actions (i) to be free, (ii) to be comprehensible as free and (iii) to be morally evaluated. (2) I show (...)
  49. Freedom and Responsibility.Hilary Bok - 1998 - Princeton University Press.
    Can we reconcile the idea that we are free and responsible agents with the idea that what we do is determined according to natural laws? For centuries, philosophers have tried in different ways to show that we can. Hilary Bok takes a fresh approach here, as she seeks to show that the two ideas are compatible by drawing on the distinction between practical and theoretical reasoning.Bok argues that when we engage in practical reasoning--the kind that involves asking "what should I (...)
  50. Moral Responsibility Beyond Classical Compatibilist and Incompatibilist Accounts.Sofia Bonicalzi - 2013 - Prolegomena 12 (1):21-41.
    The concept of “moral responsibility” has almost always been defined in relation to a certain idea of metaphysical freedom and to a conception of the physical world. So, classically, for indeterminist thinkers, human beings are free and therefore responsible, if their choices are not defined by a previous state of the world but derive from an autonomous selection among a set of alternatives. Differently, for the majority of determinist philosophers , the only form of freedom we need has to be (...)
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