Consciousness and Cognition 20 (2):401-414 (2011)

Adam Feltz
Michigan Technological University
Joshua Miller
Franciscan University of Steubenville
An important disagreement in contemporary debates about free will hinges on whether an agent must have alternative possibilities to be morally responsible. Many assume that notions of alternative possibilities are ubiquitous and reflected in everyday intuitions about moral responsibility: if one lacks alternatives, then one cannot be morally responsible. We explore this issue empirically. In two studies, we find evidence that folk judgments about moral responsibility call into question two popular principles that require some form of alternative possibilities for moral responsibility. Survey participants given scenarios involving agents that fail to satisfy these principles nonetheless found these agents to be morally responsible, blameworthy, deserving of blame, and at fault for morally bad actions and consequences. We defend our interpretation of this evidence against objections and explore some implications of these findings for the free will debate
Keywords Experimental philosophy  Moral responsibility  Alternative possibilities  Frankfurt-style cases
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DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2010.10.015
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References found in this work BETA

Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829.
Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.) - 2008 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Philosophical Personality Argument.Adam Feltz & Edward T. Cokely - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):227-246.
Moral Responsibility and Free Will: A Meta-Analysis.Adam Feltz & Florian Cova - 2014 - Consciousness and Cognition 30:234-246.

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