Understanding Moral Responsibility within the Context of the Free Will Debate

Florida Philosophical Review 12 (1):68-82 (2012)

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Abstract
Since philosophers generally agree that free will is understood partly by the relation it holds to moral responsibility, achieving a better understanding of free will requires that we have a clear idea of the sort of moral responsibility to which free will is thought to be connected. I argue that examining the substantive differences that exist between compatibilists and incompatibilists reveals a specific notion of moral responsibility that is best suited for philosophical debates regarding free will. Upon examination, it becomes apparent that the primary substantive disputes between compatibilists and incompatibilists—as well as between libertarians and skeptics—have to do with the issue of whether retributivist reward or punishment is ever appropriate for certain kinds of agents. Drawing from this, I suggest that participants in the free will debate adopt a particular understanding of moral responsibility that can ground the propriety of retributivist justice.
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Verbal Disputes.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (4):515-566.
The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Galen J. Strawson - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 75 (1-2):5-24.
Hard Incompatibilism.Derk Pereboom - 2007 - In John Martin Fischer (ed.), Four Views on Free Will. Blackwell.

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