Moral responsibility, freedom, and compulsion

American Philosophical Quarterly 11 (1):1-14 (1974)
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This paper sets out and defends an account of free action and explores the relation between free action and moral responsibility. Free action is analyzed as a certain kind of uncompelled action. The notion of compulsion is explicated in detail, And several forms of compulsion are distinguished and compared. It is argued that contrary to what is usually supposed, A person may be morally responsible for doing something even if he did not do it freely. On the basis of the account of free action, It is also argued that freedom and determinism are compatible and that, Though a person is morally responsible for doing something only if he could have done otherwise, Determinism does not entail that no one ever can, In the relevant sense, Do otherwise. The concluding part of the paper suggests that, If the account of the relation between free action and moral responsibility is correct, Then the class of actions for which we bear moral responsibility is significantly wider than a great many people suppose



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Robert N. Audi
University of Notre Dame

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