Moral Responsibility and Motivational Mechanisms

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (4):473 - 492 (2012)
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This paper provides a discussion and defense of a recent formulation of the idea that moral responsibility for actions depends on the capacity to respond to reasons. This formulation appears in several publications by John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza, where the authors argue that moral responsibility involves a kind of control over one's actions which they call "guidance control." This kind of control does not require an agent's ability to do something different from what he actually does, but instead requires only that the actual process leading to the action be responsive in some suitable way to the reasons that the agent has for acting. After summarizing this view, I offer the following two innovations to the authors' view: I argue that the level of control required for moral responsibility (which I call "regular reasons-responsiveness") is much stronger than what the author's view allows for; and 2) I give a common-sense account of the kinds of motivational mechanism relevant to moral responsibility. Given these innovations, I show that this kind of view allows us to easily answer some counterexamples that appear in the current literature on moral responsibility



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Autonomy, authority, and anarchy.James Humphries - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow

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References found in this work

Nicomachean ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 2014 - Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.. Edited by C. D. C. Reeve.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
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.

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