Free Will, Art and Morality

The Journal of Ethics 12 (3-4):307 - 325 (2008)
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The discussion in this paper begins with some observations regarding a number of structural similarities between art and morality as it involves human agency. On the basis of these observations we may ask whether or not incompatibilist worries about free will are relevant to both art and morality. One approach is to claim that libertarian free will is essential to our evaluations of merit and desert in both spheres. An alternative approach, is to claim that free will is required only in the sphere of morality—and that to this extent the art/morality analogy breaks down. I argue that both these incompatibilist approaches encounter significant problems and difficulties—and that incompatibilist have paid insufficient attention to these issues. However, although the analogy between art and morality may be welcomed by compatibilists, it does not pave the way for an easy or facile optimism on this subject. On the contrary, while the art/morality analogy may lend support to compatibilism it also serves to show that some worries of incompatibilism relating to the role of luck in human life cannot be easily set aside, which denies compatibilism any basis for complacent optimism on this subject

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Author's Profile

Paul Russell
Lund University

Citations of this work

Moral Luck and The Unfairness of Morality.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3179-3197.
Free Will and Moral Luck.Robert J. Hartman - 2022 - In Joseph Keim Campbell, Kristin M. Mickelson & V. Alan White (eds.), A Companion to Free Will. Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 378-392.
Constitutive Moral Luck and Strawson's Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Robert J. Hartman - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (2):165-183.
Moral Luck and Unfair Blame.Martin Sand & Michael Klenk - 2023 - Journal of Value Inquiry 57 (4):701-717.

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References found in this work

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Ethics and the limits of philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Routledge.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1986 - Cambridge, Mass.: Routledge.

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