Strawson’s modest transcendental argument

D. Justin Coates
University of Houston
Although Peter Strawson’s ‘Freedom and Resentment’ was published over fifty years ago and has been widely discussed, its main argument is still notoriously difficult to pin down. The most common – but in my view, mistaken – interpretation of Strawson’s argument takes him to be providing a ‘relentlessly’ naturalistic framework for our responsibility practices. To rectify this mistake, I offer an alternative interpretation of Strawson’s argument. As I see it, rather than offering a relentlessly naturalistic framework for moral responsibility, Strawson actually develops a transcendental argument, which grounds our moral responsibility practices in the practical perspective of social agents. However, the aims of this essay are not purely interpretative. Strawson’s essay continues to have important implications for a number of issues that arise in the contemporary debates that concern free will and moral responsibility. In particular, it puts significant pressure on moral responsibility sceptics like Derk Pereboom [Living Without Free Will. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001] who think that the truth of moral responsibility scepticism has no worrisome implications for our lives with others.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09608788.2017.1284647
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,566
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Value of Perception.Keith Allen - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On an Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Randolph Clarke - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):13-24.
Reactive Attitudes and Volitional Necessity.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2014 - Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (4):677-689.
Strawson on Other Minds.Joel Smith - 2011 - In Joel Smith & Peter Sullivan (eds.), Transcendental Philosophy and Naturalism. Oxford University Press.
The Strains of Involvement.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2015 - In Randolph Clarke, Michael McKenna & Angela M. Smith (eds.), The Nature of Moral Responsibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 19-44.
Moral Rebukes and Social Avoidance.Linda Radzik - 2014 - Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (4):643-661.
In Defense of Love Internalism.D. Justin Coates - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (3):233-255.
A Dialectical View of “Freedom and Resentment”.David Botting - 2014 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):325-341.


Added to PP index

Total views
36 ( #208,865 of 2,325,876 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #527,170 of 2,325,876 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature