Remaking responsibility: complexity and scattered causes in human agency

Joshua Fost
Minerva Schools At KGI
Angela M. Coventry
Portland State University
Contrary to intuitions that human beings are free to think and act with “buck-stopping” freedom, philosophers since Holbach and Hume have argued that universal causation makes free will nonsensical. Contemporary neuroscience has strengthened their case and begun to reveal subtle and counterintuitive mechanisms in the processes of conscious agency. Although some fear that determinism undermines moral responsibility, the opposite is true: free will, if it existed, would undermine coherent systems of justice. Moreover, deterministic views of human choice clarify the conditions in which we ought to protect people from themselves, for example when they cannot give informed consent to medical procedures. Some of the most unresolved questions in this domain are just now emerging; they include robot ethics and the responsibilities of groups. We propose a philosophical and scientific research program to apply complex systems science to these problems.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 48,902
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Folk Intuitions on Free Will.Shaun Nichols - 2006 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (1-2):57-86.
Fear of Mechanism: A Compatibilist Critique of The Volitional Brain.Thomas W. Clark - 1997 - In Libet, B., Freeman, A., Sutherland & K. (eds.), Journal of Consciousness Studies. Imprint Academic. pp. 8-9.
The Metaphysical Presuppositions of Moral Responsibility.Helen Steward - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (2):241-271.
Moral Responsibility.Garrath Williams - 2010 - Oxford Bibliographies Online.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature