Strawson’s modest transcendental argument


Authors
D. Justin Coates
University of Houston
Abstract
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.
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2017.1284647
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The Value of Perception.Keith Allen - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

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