Free Will and Moral Responsibility

Cambridge Scholars Press (2013)
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Abstract

Determinism is, roughly, the thesis that facts about the past and the laws of nature entail all truths. A venerable, age-old dilemma concerning responsibility distils to this: if either determinism is true or it is not true, we lack "responsibility-grounding" control. Either determinism is true or it is not true. So, we lack responsibility-grounding control. Deprived of such control, no one is ever morally responsible for anything. A number of the freshly-minted essays in this collection address aspects of this dilemma. Responding to the horn that determinism undermines the freedom that responsibility (or moral obligation) requires, the freedom to do otherwise, some papers in this collection debate the merits of Frankfurt-style examples that purport to show that one can be responsible despite lacking alternatives. Responding to the horn that indeterminism implies luck or randomness, other papers discuss the strengths or shortcomings of libertarian free will or control. Also included in this collection are essays on the freedom requirements of moral obligation, forgiveness and free will, a "desert-free" conception of free will, and vicarious legal and moral responsibility. The authors of the essays in this volume are philosophers who have made significant contributions to debates in free will, moral responsibility, moral obligation, the reactive attitudes, philosophy of action, and philosophical psychology, and include John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, Michael McKenna, Alfred Mele, and Derk Pereboom.

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Justin Caouette
University of Calgary

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