Exercising Doxastic Freedom

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):1-37 (2011)
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Abstract

This paper defends the possibility of doxastic freedom, arguing that doxastic freedom should be modelled not on freedom of action but on freedom of intention. Freedom of action is exercised by agents like us, I argue, through voluntary control. This involves two conditions, intentions-reactivity and reasons-reactivity, that are not met in the case of doxastic states. Freedom of intention is central to our agency and to our moral responsibility, but is not exercised through voluntary control. I develop and defend an account of freedom of intention, arguing that constitutive features of intention ensure that freedom of intention cannot require voluntary control. Then I show that an analogous argument can be applied to doxastic states. I argue that if we had voluntary control of intentions or of doxastic states, this would actually undermine our freedom

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Conor McHugh
University of Southampton

References found in this work

Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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