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Making Sense of Freedom and Responsibility

Oxford University Press (2011)

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  1. Praise.Daniel Telech - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (10):1-19.
    One way of being responsible for an action is being praiseworthy for it. But what is the “praise” of which the praiseworthy agent is worthy? This paper provides a survey of answers to this question, i.e. a survey of possible accounts of praise’s nature. It then presents an overview of candidate norms governing our responses of praise. By attending to praise’s nature and appropriateness conditions, we stand to acquire a richer conception of what it is to be, and to regard (...)
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  • Free Will and Mental Powers.Niels van Miltenburg & Dawa Ometto - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1155-1165.
    In this paper, we investigate how contemporary metaphysics of powers can further an understanding of agent-causal theories of free will. The recent upsurge of such ontologies of powers and the understanding of causation it affords promises to demystify the notion of an agent-causal power. However, as we argue pace, the very ubiquity of powers also poses a challenge to understanding in what sense exercises of an agent’s power to act could still be free—neither determined by external circumstances, nor random, but (...)
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  • “Ought” Implies “Can” but Does Not Imply “Must”: An Asymmetry between Becoming Infeasible and Becoming Overridden.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (4):487-514.
    The claim that (OIC) “ought” implies “can” (i.e., you have an obligation only at times at which you can obey it) entails that (1) obligations that become infeasible are lost (i.e., you stop having an obligation when you become unable to obey it). Moreover, the claim that (2) obligations that become overridden are not always lost (i.e., sometimes you keep having an obligation when you acquire a stronger incompatible obligation) entails that (ONIM) “ought” does not imply “must” (i.e., some obligations (...)
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  • Accepting Moral Responsibility for the Actions of Autonomous Weapons Systems—a Moral Gambit.Mariarosaria Taddeo & Alexander Blanchard - 2022 - Philosophy and Technology 35 (3):1-24.
    In this article, we focus on the attribution of moral responsibility for the actions of autonomous weapons systems (AWS). To do so, we suggest that the responsibility gap can be closed if human agents can take meaningful moral responsibility for the actions of AWS. This is a moral responsibility attributed to individuals in a justified and fair way and which is accepted by individuals as an assessment of their own moral character. We argue that, given the unpredictability of AWS, meaningful (...)
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  • The Future of Moral Responsibility and Desert.Jay Spitzley - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):977-997.
    Most contemporary accounts of moral responsibility take desert to play a central role in the nature of moral responsibility. It is also assumed that desert is a backward-looking concept that is not directly derivable from any forward-looking or consequentialist considerations, such as whether blaming an agent would deter the agent from performing similar bad actions in the future. When determining which account of moral responsibility is correct, proponents of desert-based accounts often take intuitions about cases to provide evidence either in (...)
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  • Being Sympathetic to Bad-History Wrongdoers.Craig K. Agule - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (1):147-169.
    For many philosophers, bad-history wrongdoers are primarily interesting because of what their cases might tell us about the interaction of moral responsibility and history. However, philosophers focusing on blameworthiness have overlooked important questions about blame itself. These bad-history cases are complicated because blame and sympathy are both fitting. When we are careful to consider the rich natures of those two reactions, we see that they conflict in several important ways. We should see bad-history cases as cases about whether and how (...)
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  • Regulation Enables: Corporate Agency and Practices of Responsibility.Garrath Williams - 2019 - Journal of Business Ethics 154 (4):989-1002.
    Both advocates of corporate regulation and its opponents tend to depict regulation as restrictive—a policy option that limits freedom in the name of welfare or other social goods. Against this framing, I suggest we can understand regulation in enabling terms. If well designed and properly enforced, regulation enables companies to operate in ways that are acceptable to society as a whole. This paper argues for this enabling character by considering some wider questions about responsibility and the sharing of responsibility. Agents (...)
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  • A Dilemma for Reductive Compatibilism.Robert H. Wallace - 2021 - Erkenntnis:1-23.
    A common compatibilist view says that we are free and morally responsible in virtue of the ability to respond aptly to reasons. Many hold a version of this view despite disagreement about whether free will requires the ability to do otherwise. The canonical version of this view is reductive. It reduces the pertinent ability to a set of modal properties that are more obviously compatible with determinism, like dispositions. I argue that this and any reductive view of abilities faces a (...)
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  • Responsibility and the Limits of Conversation.Manuel R. Vargas - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (2):221-240.
    Both legal and moral theorists have offered broadly “communicative” theories of criminal and moral responsibility. According to such accounts, we can understand the nature of responsibility by appealing to the idea that responsibility practices are in some fundamental sense expressive, discursive, or communicative. In this essay, I consider a variety of issues in connections with this family of views, including its relationship to free will, the theory of exemptions, and potential alternatives to the communicative model. Focusing on Michael McKenna’s Conversation (...)
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  • Blameworthiness and the Affective Account of Blame.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (4):1299-1312.
    One of the most influential accounts of blame—the affective account—takes its cue from P.F. Strawson’s discussion of the reactive attitudes. To blame someone, on this account, is to target her with resentment, indignation, or (in the case of self-blame) guilt. Given the connection between these emotions and the demand for regard that is arguably central to morality, the affective account is quite plausible. Recently, however, George Sher has argued that the affective account of blame, as understood both by Strawson himself (...)
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  • Strawson, Moral Responsibility, and the "Order of Explanation": An Intervention.Patrick Todd - 2016 - Ethics 127 (1):208-240.
    P.F. Strawson’s (1962) “Freedom and Resentment” has provoked a wide range of responses, both positive and negative, and an equally wide range of interpretations. In particular, beginning with Gary Watson, some have seen Strawson as suggesting a point about the “order of explanation” concerning moral responsibility: it is not that it is appropriate to hold agents responsible because they are morally responsible, rather, it is ... well, something else. Such claims are often developed in different ways, but one thing remains (...)
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  • Conceptualizing Coercive Indoctrination in Moral and Legal Philosophy.Evan Tiffany - 2022 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 16 (1):153-179.
    This paper argues that there are compelling grounds for thinking that coercive indoctrination can defeat or mitigate moral culpability in virtue of being a form of non-culpable moral ignorance. That is, I defend a two-tier account such that what excuses an agent for a wrongful act is the agent’s ignorance regarding the moral quality of their act; and what excuses the defendant for their ignorance is that coercion or manipulation deprived the defendant of a fair opportunity to avoid that ignorance. (...)
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  • Quality of Reasons and Degrees of Responsibility.Hannah Tierney - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):661-672.
    Traditionally, theories of moral responsibility feature only the minimally sufficient conditions for moral responsibility. While these theories are well-suited to account for the threshold of responsibility, it’s less clear how they can address questions about the degree to which agents are responsible. One feature that intuitively affects the degree to which agents are morally responsible is how difficult performing a given action is for them. Recently, philosophers have begun to develop accounts of scalar moral responsibility that make use of this (...)
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  • Accountability and the thoughts in reactive attitudes.Jada Strabbing - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3121-3140.
    As object-directed emotions, reactive attitudes can be appropriate in the sense of fitting, where an emotion is fitting in virtue of accurately representing its target. I use this idea to argue for a theory of moral accountability: an agent S is accountable for an action A if and only if A expresses S’s quality of will and S has the capacity to recognize and respond to moral reasons. For the sake of argument, I assume that a reactive attitude is fitting (...)
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  • Self-expression: a deep self theory of moral responsibility.Chandra Sripada - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1203-1232.
    According to Dewey, we are responsible for our conduct because it is “ourselves objectified in action”. This idea lies at the heart of an increasingly influential deep self approach to moral responsibility. Existing formulations of deep self views have two major problems: They are often underspecified, and they tend to understand the nature of the deep self in excessively rationalistic terms. Here I propose a new deep self theory of moral responsibility called the Self-Expression account that addresses these issues. The (...)
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  • Causal decision theory’s predetermination problem.Toby Charles Penhallurick Solomon - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5623-5654.
    It has often been noted that there is some tension between engaging in decision-making and believing that one’s choices might be predetermined. The possibility that our choices are predetermined forces us to consider, in our decisions, act-state pairs which are inconsistent, and hence to which we cannot assign sensible utilities. But the reasoning which justifies two-boxing in Newcomb’s problem also justifies associating a non-zero causal probability with these inconsistent act-state pairs. Put together these undefined utilities and non-zero probabilities entail that (...)
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  • On a Neglected Aspect of Agentive Experience.Andrew Sims - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (4):1313-1330.
    There is an argument for incompatibilism that is based on the experience of agency. Authors who endorse this argument place pro tanto evidential weight on one or more of two putative aspects of the experience of being an agent: i) the experience of being the causal source of our actions; ii) the experience of having robust alternative possibilities available to one. With some exceptions, these authors and their critics alike neglect a third significant aspect of the experience of agency: iii) (...)
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  • Group Action Without Group Minds.Kenneth Silver - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (2):321-342.
    Groups behave in a variety of ways. To show that this behavior amounts to action, it would be best to fit it into a general account of action. However, nearly every account from the philosophy of action requires the agent to have mental states such as beliefs, desires, and intentions. Unfortunately, theorists are divided over whether groups can instantiate these states—typically depending on whether or not they are willing to accept functionalism about the mind. But we can avoid this debate. (...)
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  • Traditional Compatibilism Reformulated and Defended.Markus E. Schlosser - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Research 42:277-300.
    Traditional compatibilism about free will is widely considered to be untenable. In particular, the conditional analysis of the ability to do otherwise appears to be subject to clear counterexamples. I will propose a new version of traditional compatibilism that provides a conditional account of both the ability to do otherwise and the ability to choose to do otherwise, and I will argue that this view withstands the standard objections to traditional compatibilism. For this, I will assume with incompatibilists that the (...)
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  • Ought implies can, asymmetrical freedom, and the practical irrelevance of transcendental freedom.Matthé Scholten - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):25-42.
    In this paper, I demonstrate that Kant's commitment to an asymmetry between the control conditions for praise and blame is explained by his endorsement of the principle Ought Implies Can (OIC). I argue that Kant accepts only a relatively weak version of OIC and that he is hence committed only to a relatively weak requirement of alternate possibilities for moral blame. This suggests that whether we are transcendentally free is irrelevant to questions about moral permissibility and moral blameworthiness.
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  • Conscious Will, Reason-Responsiveness, and Moral Responsibility.Markus E. Schlosser - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (3):205-232.
    Empirical evidence challenges many of the assumptions that underlie traditional philosophical and commonsense conceptions of human agency. It has been suggested that this evidence threatens also to undermine free will and moral responsibility. In this paper, I will focus on the purported threat to moral responsibility. The evidence challenges assumptions concerning the ability to exercise conscious control and to act for reasons. This raises an apparent challenge to moral responsibility as these abilities appear to be necessary for morally responsible agency. (...)
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  • Reasonable expectations, moral responsibility, and empirical data.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2020 - Philosophical Studies (10):2945-2968.
    Many philosophers think that a necessary condition on moral blameworthiness is that the wrongdoer can reasonably be expected to avoid the action for which she is blamed. Those who think so assume as a matter of course that the expectations at issue here are normative expectations that contrast with the non-normative or predictive expectations we form concerning the probable conduct of others, and they believe, or at least assume, that there is a clear-cut distinction between the two. In this paper (...)
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  • Downward causation and supervenience: the non-reductionist’s extra argument for incompatibilism.Joana Rigato - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 21 (3):384-399.
    Agent-causal theories of free will, which rely on a non-reductionist account of the agent, have traditionally been associated with libertarianism. However, some authors have recently argued in favor of compatibilist agent-causal accounts. In this essay, I will show that such accounts cannot avoid serious problems of implausibility or incoherence. A careful analysis of the implications of non-reductionist views of the agent (event-causal or agent-causal as they may be) reveals that such views necessarily imply either the denial of the principle of (...)
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  • Responsibility for Testimonial Injustice.Adam Piovarchy - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):597–615.
    In this paper, I examine whether agents who commit testimonial injustice are morally responsible for their wrongdoing, given that they are ignorant of their wrongdoing. Fricker (2007) argues that agents whose social setting lacks the concepts or reasons necessary for them to correct for testimonial injustice are excused. I argue that agents whose social settings have these concepts or reasons available are also typically excused, because they lack the capacity to recognise those concepts or reasons. Attempts to trace this lack (...)
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  • Review of Why Free Will is Real, Christian List, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019. [REVIEW]Derk Pereboom - forthcoming - Criminal Law and Philosophy:1-6.
  • Powers, laws and freedom of the will: Steven Horst: Laws, mind, and free will. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011, 277pp, $36.00 HB.Derk Pereboom - 2014 - Metascience 23 (3):491-495.
    Laws, Mind, and Free Will is a highly valuable book for anyone interested in philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, or in the problem of free will and moral responsibility. The book has three distinct but related parts. The first presents an anti-empiricist position on the laws of nature, according to which the point of the laws is not primarily to predict kinematic outcomes, but rather to characterize dynamics. One upshot of the account is that the laws have an attenuated (...)
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  • Frankfurt examples, derivative responsibility, and the timing objection1.Derk Pereboom - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):298-315.
  • Foundational Grounding and Creaturely Freedom.Kenneth L. Pearce - forthcoming - Mind:fzab024.
    According to classical theism, the universe depends on God in a way that goes beyond mere (efficient) causation. I have previously argued that this ‘deep dependence’ of the universe on God is best understood as a type of grounding. In a recent paper in this journal, Aaron Segal argues that this doctrine of deep dependence causes problems for creaturely free will: if our choices are grounded in facts about God, and we have no control over these facts, then we do (...)
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  • Replies to Critics.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2):476-491.
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  • Replies to critics.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):123-131.
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  • IX—Equal Opportunity: A Unifying Framework for Moral, Aesthetic, and Epistemic Responsibility.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2020 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (2):203-235.
    On the one hand, there seem to be compelling parallels to moral responsibility, blameworthiness, and praiseworthiness in domains other than the moral. For example, we often praise people for their aesthetic and epistemic achievements and blame them for their failures. On the other hand, it has been argued that there is something special about the moral domain, so that at least one robust kind of responsibility can only be found there. In this paper, I argue that we can adopt a (...)
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  • Difficulty and Degrees of Moral Praiseworthiness and Blameworthiness.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):356-378.
    In everyday life, we assume that there are degrees of blameworthiness and praiseworthiness. Yet the debate about the nature of moral responsibility often focuses on the “yes or no” question of whether indeterminism is required for moral responsibility, while questions about what accounts for more or less blameworthiness or praiseworthiness are underexplored. In this paper, I defend the idea that degrees of blameworthiness and praiseworthiness can depend in part on degrees of difficulty and degrees of sacrifice required for performing the (...)
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  • Duties, Desert, and the Justification of Punishment.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2019 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 13 (3):425-438.
    In this essay, I assess what I call the “Duty View,” subtly articulated and defended by Victor Tadros in Wrongs and Crimes. According to the Duty View, wrongdoers incur enforceable duties, including the duty to be punished in some circumstances, in virtue of their wrongdoing; therefore, punishment can be justified simply on the ground that wrongdoers’ duties are being legitimately enforced. I argue that, while wrongdoers do incur important duties, these are not necessarily fulfilled by providing protection against future offenses, (...)
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  • Vigilance and control.Samuel Murray & Manuel Vargas - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):825-843.
    We sometimes fail unwittingly to do things that we ought to do. And we are, from time to time, culpable for these unwitting omissions. We provide an outline of a theory of responsibility for unwitting omissions. We emphasize two distinctive ideas: (i) many unwitting omissions can be understood as failures of appropriate vigilance, and; (ii) the sort of self-control implicated in these failures of appropriate vigilance is valuable. We argue that the norms that govern vigilance and the value of self-control (...)
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  • Frankfurtian Reflections: A Critical Discussion of Robert Lockie’s “Three Recent Frankfurt Cases”.Carlos J. Moya - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (2):585-605.
    In a recent article, Robert Lockie brings about a critical examination of three Frankfurtstyle cases designed by David Widerker and Derk Pereboom. His conclusion is that these cases do not refute either the Principle of Alternative Possibilities or some cognate leeway principle for moral responsibility. Though I take the conclusion to be true, I contend that Lockie's arguments do not succeed in showing it. I concentrate on Pereboom's Tax Evasion 2. After presenting Pereboom's example and analyzing its structure, I distinguish (...)
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  • Culpability and Irresponsibility.Martin Montminy - 2018 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 12 (1):167-181.
    I defend the principle that a person is blameworthy for her action only if that action was morally wrong. But what should we say about an agent who does the right thing based on bad motives? I present three types of cases that have these features. In each, I argue, the agent is not culpable for her action; however, she violates the norm of moral responsibility, and thus acts in a morally irresponsible way. This analysis, I show, has several virtues. (...)
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  • Crossing the Line: New Intuitions Behind Frankfurt-Type Cases.Aleksandr Mishura - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (4):393-402.
    Frankfurt-type cases with covered manipulation received a great attention in the debates about freedom of will and moral responsibility. They pretend to give the refutation of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities and to show that we can intuitively blame or praise an agent who was not able to do otherwise. In this paper, I will try to make explicit some basic intuitions underlying the agent’s responsibility in Frankfurt-type cases, which were surprisingly ignored in the contemporary debates. The key intuition is (...)
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  • How is Self-Forgiveness Possible?Per-Erik Milam - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1).
    The idea of self-forgiveness poses a serious challenge to any philosopher interested in giving a general account of forgiveness. On the one hand, it is an uncontroversial part of our common psychological and moral discourse. On the other, any account of self-forgiveness is inconsistent with any general account of forgiveness which implies that only the victim of an offense can forgive. To avoid this conclusion, one must either challenge the particular claims that preclude self-forgiveness or offer an independently plausible account (...)
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  • Reasonable Pluralism about Desert-Presupposing Moral Responsibility: A Conditional Defense.J. P. Messina - 2021 - Journal of Value Inquiry 55 (1):189-208.
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  • Source compatibilism and that pesky ability to do otherwise: comments on Dana Nelkin’s making sense of freedom and responsibility. [REVIEW]Michael McKenna - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):105-116.
  • Quality of Will, Private Blame and Conversation: Reply to Driver, Shoemaker, and Vargas.Michael McKenna - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (2):243-263.
    In this paper, I defend my book Conversation and Responsibility in response to three critics: Julia Driver, David Shoemaker, and Manuel Vargas. Driver raises questions about my account of private blame. Shoemaker finds problems with my account of quality of will. And Vargas questions the conversational nature of my account.
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  • Does Situationism Threaten Free Will and Moral Responsibility?Michael McKenna & Brandon Warmke - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of Moral Philosophy.
    _ Source: _Page Count 36 The situationist movement in social psychology has caused a considerable stir in philosophy. Much of this was prompted by the work of Gilbert Harman and John Doris. Both contended that familiar philosophical assumptions about the role of character in the explanation of action were not supported by experimental results. Most of the ensuing philosophical controversy has focused upon issues related to moral psychology and ethical theory. More recently, the influence of situationism has also given rise (...)
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  • Does Situationism Threaten Free Will and Moral Responsibility?Michael McKenna & Brandon Warmke - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (6):698-733.
    The situationist movement in social psychology has caused a considerable stir in philosophy. Much of this was prompted by the work of Gilbert Harman and John Doris. Both contended that familiar philosophical assumptions about the role of character in the explanation of action were not supported by experimental results. Most of the ensuing philosophical controversy has focused upon issues related to moral psychology and ethical theory. More recently, the influence of situationism has also given rise to questions regarding free will (...)
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  • A dilemma for morally responsible time travelers.Kelly McCormick - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (2):379-389.
    In this paper I argue that new attempts to undermine the principle of alternative possibilities via appeal to time travel fail. My argument targets a version of a Frankfurt-style counterexample to the principle recently developed by Spencer. I argue that in avoiding one prominent objection to standard Frankfurt-style counterexamples Spencer’s time travel case runs afoul of another. Furthermore, the very feature of the case which makes it initially appealing also makes it impossible to revise the case such that it can (...)
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  • Alternative possibilities and asymmetry.Erasmus Mayr - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):105-125.
    It has often been noted that many of our intuitive assessments of particular actions suggest that there is an asymmetry between blameworthy and praiseworthy actions with regard to the question of whether moral responsibility requires that the agent could have acted otherwise. It is a quite different question, though, whether such an asymmetry between good and bad cases can be supported by more systematic considerations. In this paper, I will develop a new argument for a restricted version of the asymmetry, (...)
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  • Towards a structural ownership condition on moral responsibility.Benjamin Matheson - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):458-480.
    In this paper, I propose and defend a structural ownership condition on moral responsibility. According to the condition I propose, an agent owns a mental item if and only if it is part of or is partly grounded by a coherent set of psychological states. As I discuss, other theorists have proposed or alluded to conditions like psychological coherence, but each proposal is unsatisfactory in some way. My account appeals to narrative explanation to elucidate the relevant sense of psychological coherence.
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  • Tracing and heavenly freedom.Benjamin Matheson - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84 (1):57-69.
    Accounts of heavenly freedom typically attempt to reconcile the claim that the redeemed have free will with the claim that the redeemed cannot sin. In this paper, I first argue that Pawl and Timpe :396–417, 2009) tracing account of heavenly freedom—according to which the redeemed in heaven have only ‘derivative’ free will—is untenable. I then sketch an alternative account of heavenly freedom, one which eschews derivative free will. On this account, the redeemed are able to sin in heaven.
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  • Intentions, Permissibility, and Choice.Anton Markoč - 2018 - Res Publica 24 (4):493-508.
    T. M. Scanlon has argued that the intentions with which one acts, or more specifically, one’s reasons for acting, are non-derivatively irrelevant to the moral permissibility of one’s actions. According to one of his arguments in favor of that thesis, it can be permissible to act for one reason rather than another only if one can choose to act for a reason but, since that choice is impossible since believing as will is impossible, one can be permitted to act but (...)
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  • Three Recent Frankfurt Cases.Robert Lockie - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (4):1005-1032.
    Three recent ‘state of the art’ Frankfurt cases are responded to: Widerker’s Brain-Malfunction-W case and Pereboom’s Tax Evasion cases (2 & 3). These cases are intended by their authors to resurrect the neo-Frankfurt project of overturning the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) in the teeth of the widespread acceptance of some combination of the WKG (Widerker-Kane-Ginet) dilemma, the Flicker of Freedom strategy and the revised PAP response (‘Principle of Alternative Blame’, ‘Principle of Alternative Expectations’). The three neo-Frankfurt cases of Pereboom (...)
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  • Blocking Blockage.Ken Levy - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (2):565-583.
    The Blockage Argument is designed to improve upon Harry Frankfurt’s famous argument against the Principle of Alternative Possibilities by removing the counterfactual intervener altogether. If the argument worked, then it would prove in a way that Frankfurt’s argument does not that moral responsibility does not require any alternative possibilities whatsoever, not even the weakest “flicker of freedom”. -/- Some philosophers have rejected the Blockage Argument solely on the basis of their intuition that the inability to do otherwise is incompatible with (...)
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