Whether indeterminism undermines moral responsibility by subverting one or more of responsibility’s requirements is something that has received close attention in the recent literature on free will. In this paper, I take issue with Gerald Harrison’s attempt to deflect various considerations for the view that indeterminism threatens responsibility either by threatening the control that responsibility requires or by posing a problem of luck.
I assess Robert Kane's view that global Frankfurt-type cases don't show that freedom to do otherwise is never required for moral responsibility. I first adumbrate Kane's indeterminist account of free will.This will help us grasp Kane's notion of ultimate responsibility, and his claim that in a global Frankfurt-type case, the counterfactual intervener could not control all of the relevant agent's actions in the Frankfurt manner, and some of those actions would be such that the agent could have done otherwise. Appealing (...) to considerations of responsibility and luck, I then show that the global cases survive Kane's objections. (shrink)
To have free will with respect to an act is to have the ability both to perform and to refrain from performing it. In this book, IshtiyaqueHaji argues that no one can have practical reasons of a certain sort - "objective reasons" - to perform some act unless one has free will regarding that act.
The role of freedom in assigning moral responsibility is one of the deepest problems in metaphysics and moral theory. _Incompatibilism’s Allure_ provides original analysis of the principal arguments for incompatibilism. IshtiyaqueHaji incisively examines the consequence argument, the direct argument, the deontic argument, the manipulation argument, the impossibility argument and the luck objection. He introduces the most important contemporary discussions in a manner accessible to advanced undergraduates, but also suited to professional philosophers. The result is a unique and (...) compelling account for incompatibilism’s continuing allure. (shrink)
Frankfurt examples attempt to establish that a person can be morally responsible, morally blameworthy, for instance, for doing something despite not being able to do otherwise, as long as the conditions that render him unable to do otherwise play no role in bringing about what he does.Harry Frankfurt, “Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility,” The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 66 . A more cautious manner of arguing would be to assume only that it is not demonstrated that the agent is not (...) morally responsible. See, e.g., John M. Fischer, “Recent Work on Moral Responsibility,” Ethics, Vol. 110 ; IshtiyaqueHaji and Michael McKenna, “Defending Frankfurt’s Argument in Deterministic Contexts: A Reply to Palmer,” The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 103 ; and IshtiyaqueHaji and Michael McKenna, “Dialectical Delicacies in the Debate about Freedom and Alternative Possibilities,” The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 101 . But for present purposes, we can work with the stro .. (shrink)
This book explores the epistemic or knowledge requirement of moral responsibility. Haji argues that an agent can be blamed (or praised) only if the agent harbors a belief that the action in question is wrong (or right or obligatory). Defending the importance of an "authenticity" condition when evaluating moral responsibility, Haji holds that one cannot be morally responsible for an action unless the action issues from sources (like desires or beliefs) that are truly the agent's own. Engaging crucial (...) arguments in moral theory to elaborate his views on moral responsibility, Haji addresses as well fascinating, underexamined topics such as assigning blame across an intercultural gap and the relevance of unconscious or dream thoughts when evaluating responsibility. (shrink)
Something is subject to luck if it is beyond our control. In Luck's Mischief, Haji argues that owing frequently to precluding our being able to otherwise, luck limits both the range of what is morally obligatory for us and things for which we are morally responsible.
This book addresses a dilemma concerning freedom and moral obligation. If determinism is true, then no one has control over one's actions. If indeterminism is true, then no one has control over their actions. But it is morally obligatory, right or wrong for one to perform some action only if one has control over it. Hence, no one ever performs an action that is morally obligatory, right or wrong. The author defends the view that this dilemma can be evaded but (...) not in a way traditional compatibilists about freedom and moral responsibility will find congenial. For moral obligation is indeed incompatible with determinism but not with indeterminism. He concludes with an argument to the effect that, if determinism is true and no action is morally obligatory, right or wrong, then our world would be considerably morally impoverished as several sorts of moral appraisal would be unjustified. (shrink)
Externalism is the view that facts about one's history or past in the external world that bear on the acquisition of one's responsibility-grounding psychological elements are pertinent to whether one's actions are free and, hence, pertinent to whether one can be morally responsible for them. Internalism is the thesis that the conditions of moral responsibility can be specified independently of facts about how the person acquired her responsibility-grounding psychological elements. In this paper we defend a position that navigates between externalism (...) and internalism: moral responsibility does not require that one have a past but it does require that one not have certain kinds of past. (shrink)
Introduction: The metaphysics of responsibility and philosophy of education -- Moral responsibility, authenticity, and the problem of manipulation -- A novel perspective on the problem of authenticity -- Forward-looking authenticity in the internalism/externalism debate -- Authentic education, indoctrination, and moral responsibility -- Moral responsibility, hard incompatibilism, and interpersonal relationships -- On the significance of moral responsibility and love -- Love, commendability, and moral obligation -- Love, determinism, and normative education.
It has been argued that all compatibilist accounts of free action and moral responsibility succumb to the manipulation problem: evil neurologists or their like may manipulate an agent, in the absence of the agent's awareness of being so manipulated, so that when the agent performs an action, requirements of the compatibilist contender at issue are satisfied. But intuitively, the agent is not responsible for the action. We propose that the manipulation problem be construed as a problem of deviance. In troubling (...) cases of manipulation, psychological elements such as desires and beliefs, among other things, are acquired via causal routes that are deviant relative to causal routes deemed normal or baseline. We develop and defend rudiments of a baseline that is acceptable independently of whether one has compatibilist or incompatibilist leanings. (shrink)
Key elements of Randolph Clarke's libertarian account of freedom that requires both agent-causation and non-deterministic event-causation in the production of free action is assessed with an eye toward determining whether agent-causal accounts can accommodate the truth of judgments of moral obligation.
Mele endeavors to analyze autonomy, understood as an actual condition of self-governance, in two stages. An account of ideally self-controlled agents is developed first. This account is then supplemented with features sufficient for individual autonomy.
I examine John Martin Fischer's attempt to block an argument for the conclusion that without alternative possibilities, morally deontic judgments (judgments of moral right, wrong, and obligation) cannot be true. I then criticize a recent attempt to sustain the principle that an agent is morally blameworthy for performing an action only if this action is morally wrong. I conclude with discussing Fisher's view that even if causal determinism undermines morally deontic judgments, it still leaves room for other significant moral assessments (...) including assessments of moral blameworthiness. (shrink)
This paper revisits the issue of whether responsibility is essentially historical. Roughly, the leading question here is this: Do ways in which we can acquire pertinent antecedents of action, such as beliefs, desires, and values, have an essential bearing on whether we are responsible for actions that are suitably related to these antecedents? I argue, first, that Michael McKenna’s interesting case for nonhistoricism is indecisive, and, second, his brand of modest historicism, while highly insightful, yields results concerning responsibility that ought (...) to be resisted. I conclude by motivating a hybrid view: it implies that responsibility does not require that one have a past, but should one have a past, it must be a past of a certain sort. (shrink)
Recently, Neil Levy has proposed that an agent can acquire freedom-relevant agential abilities by virtue of the conditions in which she finds herself, and in this way, can be thought of as partially constituted by those conditions. This can be so even if the agent is completely ignorant of the relevant environmental conditions, and even if these conditions play no causal role in what the agent does. Drawing upon these resources, Levy argues that Frankfurt-style examples are not cogent. In this (...) paper, we explain why his argument fails. (shrink)
I motivate a dilemma to show that nothing can be obligatory for anyone regardless of whether determinism or indeterminism is true. The deterministic horn, to which prime attention is directed, exploits the thesis that obligation requires freedom to do otherwise. Since determinism precludes such freedom, it precludes obligation too. The indeterministic horn allows for freedom to do otherwise but assumes the burden of addressing whether indeterministically caused choices or actions are too much of a matter of luck to be obligatory (...) for anyone. I critically discuss a response to the deterministic horn that invokes the distinction between alternatives compatible with determinism and those incompatible with determinism. (shrink)
My primary objective is to motivate the concern that leading libertarian views of free action seem unable to account for an agent’s behavior in a way that reveals an explanatorily apt connection between the agent’s prior reasons and the intentional behavior to be explained. I argue that it is this lack of a suitable reasons explanation of purportedly free decisions that underpins the objection that agents who act with the pertinent sort of libertarian freedom cannot be morally responsible for what (...) they do because their intentional behavior is a matter of luck. The accounts scrutinized include a Kane-type event-causal view, Clarke’s account that appeals to both agent causation and event causation in the production of free action, and O’Connor’s pure agent-causal account. I conclude by discussing an advantage these libertarian accounts enjoy over compatibilist contenders: they possess a feature necessary to accommodate the truth of judgments of moral obligation. (shrink)
An ideal of education is to ensure that our children develop into autonomous critical thinkers. The ‘indoctrination objection’, however, calls into question whether education, aimed at cultivating autonomous critical thinkers, is possible. The core of the concern is that since the young child lacks even modest capacities for assessing reasons, the constituent components of critical thinking have to be indoctrinated if there is to be any hope of the child's attaining the ideal. Our primary objective is to defuse this objection. (...) We argue, first, that even if the indoctrination objection can be dealt with at the level of beliefs by an account that distinguishes between beliefs instilled in the child at the non‐rational stage that are indoctrinative and those that are non‐indoctrinative, there can be non‐autonomous ‘proto critical thinkers’ who lack autonomy with respect to the requisite motivational components. We then ask what must be added to the account to ensure that proto critical thinkers develop into autonomous ones. We suggest that motivational elements, even if instilled at a stage at which the child has insufficiently developed cognitive capacities, can be ‘truly the child's own’ only relationally: the autonomous motivational elements are ones with respect to which the future child is self‐governing. (shrink)
The set with the following members is inconsistent: F-Lesson: A person can be blameworthy for performing an action even though she cannot refrain from performing it. Equivalence: ‘Ought not’ is equivalent to ‘impermissible.’ OIC: ‘Ought’ implies ‘can’ and ‘ought not’ implies ‘can refrain from.’ BRI: Necessarily, one is morally blameworthy for doing something only if it is overall morally impermissible for one to do it. Since Equivalence seems unassailable, one can escape the inconsistency by renouncing any one of the other (...) members. I first argue against BRI and then motivate a replacement for it that ties blameworthiness to belief in impermissibility. (shrink)
In this paper, I restrict discussion to cases of psychopathy in which it is assumed that psychopaths who satisfy epistemic requirements of responsibility, including the requirement that one is culpable for an action only if one performs it in light of the belief that one is doing wrong, can and do perform actions they take to be immoral or illegal. I argue that in such cases, the well-documented emotional impairment of psychopaths fails to subvert moral culpability. In particular, it does (...) not undermine the sort of control required for moral blameworthiness and, hence, assuming all other conditions of responsibility have been met, the psychopaths of concern are indeed culpable for their behavior. Drawing, however, from certain lessons regarding the effects of coercion on responsibility, I propose that emotional impairment is a factor that should abate, perhaps even significantly, negative reaction to or treatment of such agents. (shrink)
An overarching aim of education is the promotion of children's personal well-being. Liberal educationalists also support the promotion of children's personal autonomy as a central educational aim. On some views, such as John White's, these two goals—furthering well-being and cultivating autonomy—can come apart. Our primary aim in this paper is to argue for a species of a stronger view: assuming preferentism as our axiology, we suggest that there is an essential association between the autonomy of our springs of action, such (...) as desires and beliefs, on the one hand, and personal well-being, on the other. If we are right about this link, then we have at our disposal a partial (non-instrumental) validation of the liberal ideal of autonomy. (shrink)
The author first argues against the view that an agent is morally blameworthy for performing an action only if it is morally wrong for that agent to perform that action. The author then proposes a replacement for this view whose gist is summarized in the principle: an agent S is morally blameworthy for performing action A only if S has the belief that it is wrong for her to do A and this belief plays an appropriate role in S's Aing. (...) He focuses on explicating the role an agent's belief that a prospective action, A, of hers is wrong must play in the production of her A-ing in order that she be blameworthy for A-ing. Towards this end, the author makes use of cases involving akrasia and selfdeception. (shrink)
I argue that emotional sensitivity (or insensitivity) has a marked negative influence on ethical perception. Diminished capacities of ethical perception, in turn, mitigate what we are morally responsible for while lack of such capacities may altogether eradicate responsibility. Impairment in ethical perception affects responsibility by affecting either recognition of or reactivity to moral reasons. It follows that emotional insensitivity (together with its attendant impairment in ethical perception) bears saliently on moral responsibility. Since one distinguishing mark of the psychopath is emotional (...) insensitivity, emotional insensitivity and the resulting impairment in moral perception either excuses the psychopath from moral culpability or moderates the degree to which he is culpable. (shrink)
An overarching aim of education is the promotion of children's personal well-being. Liberal educationalists also support the promotion of children's personal autonomy as a central educational aim. On some views, such as John White's, these two goals—furthering well-being and cultivating autonomy—can come apart. Our primary aim in this paper is to argue for a species of a stronger view: assuming preferentism as our axiology, we suggest that there is an essential association between the autonomy of our springs of action, such (...) as desires and beliefs, on the one hand, and personal well-being, on the other. If we are right about this link, then we have at our disposal a partial validation of the liberal ideal of autonomy. (shrink)
This paper highlights and discusses some key positions on free will and moral responsibility that I have defended. I begin with reflections on a Strawsonian analysis of moral responsibility. Then I take up objections to the view that there is an asymmetry in freedom requirements for moral responsibility and moral obligation: obligation but not responsibility requires that we could have done otherwise. I follow with some thoughts on the viability of different sorts of semi-compatibilism. Next, I turn to defending the (...) “luck objection“ to a popular libertarian account of the control that responsibility requires. This is, roughly, the objection that when our decisions are indeterministically caused, their occurrence is a matter of responsibility-undermining luck. Finally, I comment on Frankfurt examples. (shrink)
Event-causal libertarianism concerning free will faces two challenging problems of control. Indeterminism so diminishes control that it is incompatible with an indeterministically caused act's being free. Since event-causal libertarianism's metaphysical or agency commitments are no richer than those of its best compatibilist rivals, how does event-causal libertarianism secure for libertarian free agents more control than these rivals? I argue that the two problems are inextricably associated in that whether event-causal libertarianism can deliver enhanced control depends upon a solution to problem (...) , but there are formidable hurdles in the way of reaching this solution. (shrink)
I first adumbrate pertinent aspectsof Robert Kane''s libertarian theory of free choice oraction and an objection of luck that has been levelledagainst the theory. I then consider Kane''s recentresponses to this objection. To meet these responses,I argue that the view that undetermined choices (ofthe sort implied by Kane''s theory) are a matter ofluck is associated with a view about actionexplanation, to wit: when Jones does A and hisdoing of A is undetermined, and when hiscounterpart, Jones*, in the nearest possibleworld in (...) which the past and the laws are held constantuntil the moment of choice does B instead, thereis no explanation (deterministic or indeterministic)of the difference in outcome – Jones''s A-ing butJones*''s B-ing – in terms of prior reasonsor motives of either agent. Absence of such anexplanation is one crucial factor that underliesthe charge that Jones''s A-ing and Jones*''sB-ing are matters of luck. I argue that thissort of luck is incompatible with responsibility. (shrink)
I first question whether genuinealternatives are necessary for moralresponsibility by assessing the assumption thataccessibility to such alternatives is vital tohaving the kind of control required forresponsibility. I next suggest that theavailability of genuine alternatives courtsproblems of responsibility-subverting luck foran important class of libertarian theories. Isummarize one such problem and respond torecent replies it has elicited. I then proposethat if this ``luck objection'''' against theidentified class of libertarian theories ispersuasive, a similar objection appears toafflict compatibilist theories as well.Finally, I show that (...) reflections on luck maywell take some bite out of variousFrankfurt-type examples. These are examplesdesigned to establish that an agent can bemorally responsible for an action despiteacting with libertarian free will in theabsence of genuine or pertinent alternatives. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that hard incompatibilism imperils a typical component of loving relations —lovable behavior—if it imperils moral praiseworthiness. We propose that to be lovable behavior, the behavior must exemplify the property of being commendable (the property of being praiseworthy from the standpoint of love), in contrast to being morally praiseworthy (praiseworthy from the point of view of moral duty). But if hard incompatibilism undermines moral praiseworthiness, then it just as surely undermines commendability. Thus, hard incompatibilism imperils a (...) crucial component of loving relationships. (shrink)
Determinism is, roughly, the thesis that facts about the past and the laws of nature entail all truths. A venerable, age-old dilemma concerning responsibility distils to this: if either determinism is true or it is not true, we lack "responsibility-grounding" control. Either determinism is true or it is not true. So, we lack responsibility-grounding control. Deprived of such control, no one is ever morally responsible for anything. A number of the freshly-minted essays in this collection address aspects of this dilemma. (...) Responding to the horn that determinism undermines the freedom that responsibility (or moral obligation) requires, the freedom to do otherwise, some papers in this collection debate the merits of Frankfurt-style examples that purport to show that one can be responsible despite lacking alternatives. Responding to the horn that indeterminism implies luck or randomness, other papers discuss the strengths or shortcomings of libertarian free will or control. Also included in this collection are essays on the freedom requirements of moral obligation, forgiveness and free will, a "desert-free" conception of free will, and vicarious legal and moral responsibility. This chapter points to the importance of the topics discussed in the volume and interesting arguments worth noting. (shrink)
Derk Pereboom has advanced a four-case manipulation argument that, he claims, undermines both libertarian accounts of free action not committed to agent-causation and compatibilist accounts of such action. The first two cases are meant to be ones in which the key agent is not responsible for his actions owing to his being manipulated. We first consider a “hard-line” response to this argument that denies that the agent is not morally responsible in these cases. We argue that this response invites a (...) dialectically uncharitable reading of the argument. We then propose an alternative interpretation; it affirms that, at least prima facie, the manipulated agent in the first two cases is not responsible. Finally, we question Pereboom’s rationale for why the manipulation in these cases subverts responsibility. (shrink)
I address three issues in this paper: first, just as many have thought that there is a requirement of alternative possibilities for the truth of judgments of moral responsibility, is there reason to think that the truth of judgments of intrinsic value also presupposes our having alternatives? Second, if there is this sort of requirement for the truth of judgments of intrinsic value, is there an analogous requirement for the truth of judgments of moral obligation on the supposition that obligation (...) supervenes on goodness? Third, if the truth of judgments of intrinsic value and those of moral obligation do presuppose our having access to alternatives, what should be said about whether determinism imperils the truth of such judgments? I defend an affirmative answer to the first question, a more guarded answer to the second, and a yet more restrained answer to the third. (shrink)
The problem of induced pro-attitudes is simply this: why is action which ultimately issues from pro-attitudes such as desires, volitions, and goals, induced by techniques such as direct manipulation of the brain, hypnosis, or “value engineering,” frequently regarded as action for which its agent cannot be held morally responsible? The problem is of interest for several reasons. Ferdinand Schoeman, for instance, believes that the problem poses a resolvable but challenging predicament for compatibilists: if agents can be held morally responsible for (...) actions that are causally determined, then why should actions that result from induced pro-attitudes be regarded as paradigmatically unfree actions for which agents cannot be held morally accountable? Robert Kane exploits the problem to launch a libertarian attack on compatibilists. He says that a covert non-constraining controller controls the will of another agent by arranging “circumstances beforehand so that the agent wants and desires, and hence chooses and tries, only what the controller intends.” Kane claims that compatibilist accounts of freedom cannot distinguish between cases in which an agent behaves freely and those in which an agent falls prey to the covert non-constraining control of some other party. (shrink)
Determinism is the thesis that ‘there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.’ When various compatibilists discuss determinism and moral responsibility, they champion the view that although determinism is inconsistent with freedom to do otherwise, it is nevertheless consistent with responsibility. Determinism, then, does not, in the view of these compatibilists, threaten one sort of moral appraisal — the sort we make, for example, when we say that someone is blameworthy for some deed. Call moral deontic normative statuses (...) like those of being morally right, wrong, or obligatory, ‘moral anchors.’ A key objective of this paper is to show that even if compatibilists can secure moral responsibility against the threat of determinism, possibly, by establishing that freedom to do otherwise is not the right sort of freedom required for responsibility, they will not be able to secure the very anchors of morality by any similar line of reasoning. Specifically, I argue that if certain principles of moral obligation are true, nothing can be morally right, wrong, or obligatory in a world in which we lack alternative possibilities. Thus, whereas unfreedom to do otherwise may be compatible with responsibility, it is incompatible with moral anchorage. (shrink)
The Direct Argument for the incompatibility of determinism and moral responsibility is so christened because this argument allegedly circumvents any appeal to the principle of alternate possibilities – a person is morally responsible for doing something only if he could have avoided doing it – to secure incompatibilism. In this paper, I first summarize Peter van Inwagen’s version of the Direct Argument. I then comment on David Widerker’s recent responses to the argument. Finally, I cast doubt on the argument by (...) constructing counterexamples to a rule of inference it invokes. (shrink)