Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):13-24 (2005)

Randolph Clarke
Florida State University
Galen Strawson has published several versions of an argument to the effect that moral responsibility is impossible, whether determinism is true or not. Few philosophers have been persuaded by the argument, which Strawson remarks is often dismissed “as wrong, or irrelevant, or fatuous, or too rapid, or an expression of metaphysical megalomania.” I offer here a two-part explanation of why Strawson’s argument has impressed so few. First, as he usually states it, the argument is lacking at least one key premise. The premise in question concerns the very point on which Strawson and many of his contemporary opponents disagree. Strawson will persuade these opponents only when he convinces them of the truth of this crucial premise. Second, Strawson employs a striking conception of responsibility that has not generally been remarked upon. Many might accept that responsibility so conceived is impossible. But there is very different conception of responsibility that appears of great importance to us. To be thoroughly convincing, Strawson will have to show either that this second conception is inadequate or that his argument goes through even given this alternative conception.
Keywords Compatibilism  Ethics  Impossibility  Incompatibilism  Moral Responsibility  Strawson, Galen
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DOI 10.1111/j.1475-4975.2005.00103.x
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.

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Citations of this work BETA

Skepticism About Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018):1-81.
Free Will, Self‐Creation, and the Paradox of Moral Luck.Kristin M. Mickelson - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):224-256.
Constitutive Moral Luck and Strawson's Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Robert J. Hartman - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (2):165-183.

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