Responsibility in a World of Causes

Philosophic Exchange 40 (1):56-78 (2010)
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Abstract

There is a familiar chain of reasoning that goes something like this: if everything is caused, no one is free, and thus, no one can be morally responsible. Reasoning like this has made scientific explanations of human behavior (e.g., biology, psychology, and neuroscience) threatening to familiar ideas of responsibility, blameworthiness, and merit. Rather than directly attacking the chain of reasoning that gives rise to these worries, I explore an alternative approach, one that begins by considering the "use" of moral responsibility. What role does the concept play for us? What structure, if any, would an ideal set of practices and attitudes about moral responsibility have to it? I outline a new account of responsibility and consider what it might mean for traditional worries about causal, scientific explanations of human behavior.

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Manuel Vargas
University of California, San Diego

Citations of this work

Executive Function, Disability, and Agency.Kevin Timpe - 2016 - Res Philosophica 93 (4):767-796.

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References found in this work

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 2003 - In Gary Watson (ed.), Free Will. Oxford University Press.
The Illusion of Conscious Will.R. Holton - 2004 - Mind 113 (449):218-221.
7 Free Will Is Un-natural.John A. Bargh - 2008 - In John Baer, James C. Kaufman & Roy F. Baumeister (eds.), Are We Free?: Psychology and Free Will. Oxford University Press. pp. 128.

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