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Freedom and Belief

Oxford University Press (1986)

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  1. Hume and the Phenomenology of Agency.Joshua M. Wood - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (3-4):496-517.
    Some philosophers argue that Hume, given his theory of causation, is committed to an implausibly thin account of what it is like to act voluntarily. Others suggest, on the basis of his argument against free will, that Hume takes no more than an illusory feature of action to distinguish the experience of performing an act from the experience of merely observing an act. In this paper, I argue that Hume is committed to neither an unduly parsimonious nor a sceptical account (...)
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  • Agent Causation and the Alleged Impossibility of Rational Free Action.Chris Tucker - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (1):17 - 27.
    Galen Strawson has claimed that "the impossibility of free will and ultimate moral responsibility can be proved with complete certainty." Strawson, I take it, thinks that this conclusion can be established by one argument which he has developed. In this argument, he claims that rational free actions would require an infinite regress of rational choices, which is, of course, impossible for human beings. In my paper, I argue that agent causation theorists need not be worried by Strawson's argument. For agent (...)
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  • What We Do When We Judge.Josefa Toribio - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (3):345-367.
    In this paper I argue on two fronts. First, I press for the view that judging is a type of mental action, as opposed to those who think that judging is involuntary and hence not an action. Second, I argue that judging is specifically a type of non-voluntary mental action. My account of the non-voluntary nature of the mental act of judging differs, however, from standard non-voluntarist views, according to which ‘non-voluntary’ just means regulated by epistemic reasons. In addition, judging (...)
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  • Understanding Source Incompatibilism.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2011 - Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):73-88.
    Source incompatibilism is an increasingly popular version of incompatibilism about determinism and moral responsibility. However, many self-described source incompatibilists formulate the thesis differently, resulting in conceptual confusion that can obscure the relationship between source incompatibilism and other views in the neighborhood. In this paper I canvas various formulations of the thesis in the literature and argue in favor of one as the least likely to lead to conceptual confusion. It turns out that accepting my formulation has some surprising taxonomical consequences.
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  • Persistence and Responsibility.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2010 - In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. MIT Press.
    In this paper I argue that adopting a perdurance view of persistence through time does not lead to skepticism about moral responsibility, despite what many theorists have thought.
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  • The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Galen J. Strawson - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 75 (1-2):5-24.
  • Real Intentionality.Galen Strawson - 2004 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3 (3):287-313.
    This version of this paper has been superseded by a substantially revised version in G. Strawson, Real Materialism and Other Essays (OUP 2008).
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  • Consciousness, Free Will, and the Unimportance of Determinism.Galen Strawson - 1989 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32 (March):3-27.
    This article begins with some brief reflexions on the definition of determinism (II), on the notion of the subject of experience (III), and on the relation between conscious experience and brain events (IV). The main discussion (V?XIII) focuses on the traditional view, endorsed by Honderich in his book A Theory of Determinism, that the truth of determinism poses some special threat to our ordinary conception of ourselves as morally responsible free agents (and also to our ?life?hopes'). It is argued that (...)
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  • The Truth in Compatibilism and the Truth of Libertarianism.Helen Steward - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (2):167 – 179.
    The paper offers the outlines of a response to the often-made suggestion that it is impossible to see how indeterminism could possibly provide us with anything that we might want in the way of freedom, anything that could really amount to control, as opposed merely to an openness in the flow of reality that would constitute the injection of chance, or randomness, into the unfolding of the processes which underlie our activity. It is suggested that the best first move for (...)
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  • The Metaphysical Presuppositions of Moral Responsibility.Helen Steward - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (2):241-271.
    The paper attempts to explicate and justify the position I call `Agency Incompatibilism'- that is to say, the view that agency itself is incompatible with determinism. The most important part of this task is the characterisation of the conception of agency on which the position depends; for unless this is understood, the rationale for the position is likely to be missed. The paper accordingly proceeds by setting out the orthodox philosophical position concerning what it takes for agency to exist, before (...)
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  • More Work for Hard Incompatibilism.Tamler Sommers - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):511-521.
  • Experimental Philosophy and Free Will.Tamler Sommers - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (2):199-212.
    This paper develops a sympathetic critique of recent experimental work on free will and moral responsibility. Section 1 offers a brief defense of the relevance of experimental philosophy to the free will debate. Section 2 reviews a series of articles in the experimental literature that probe intuitions about the "compatibility question"—whether we can be free and morally responsible if determinism is true. Section 3 argues that these studies have produced valuable insights on the factors that influence our judgments on the (...)
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  • The Power to Make Others Worship.Aaron Smuts - 2012 - Religious Studies 48 (2):221 - 237.
    Can any being worthy of worship make others worship it? I think not. By way of an analogy to love, I argue that it is perfectly coherent to think that one could be made to worship. However, forcing someone to worship violates their autonomy, not because worship must be freely given, but because forced worship would be inauthentic—much like love earned through potions. For this reason, I argue that one cannot be made to worship properly; forced worship would be unfitting. (...)
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  • Free Will: From Nature to Illusion.Saul Smilansky - 2001 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (1):71-95.
    Sir Peter Strawson’s ‘Freedom and Resentment’ was a landmark in the philosophical understanding of the free will problem. Building upon it, I attempt to defend a novel position, which purports to provide, in outline, the next step forward. The position presented is based on the descriptively central and normatively crucial role of illusion in the issue of free will. Illusion, I claim, is the vital but neglected key to the free will problem. The proposed position, which may be called ‘Illusionism’, (...)
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  • Does the Free Will Debate Rest on a Mistake?Saul Smilansky - 1993 - Philosophical Papers 22 (3):173-88.
  • Epistemic Issues in the Free Will Debate: Can We Know When We Are Free?Scott Sehon - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (2):363-380.
    In this paper, I argue that the views of Robert Kane on the one hand and John Fischer and Mark Ravizza on the other both lead to the following conclusion: we should have very low confidence in our ability to judge that someone is acting freely or in a way for which they can be held responsible. This in turn means, I claim, that these views, in practice, collapse into a sort of hard incompatibilist position, or the position of a (...)
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  • Review of "Free Will and Modern Science", R. Swinburne , 2011. [REVIEW]Markus Schlosser - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (4):463-466.
  • Beyond Verbal Disputes: The Compatibilism Debate Revisited.Peter Schulte - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (3):669-685.
    The compatibilism debate revolves around the question whether moral responsibility and free will are compatible with determinism. Prima facie, this seems to be a substantial issue. But according to the triviality objection, the disagreement is merely verbal: compatibilists and incompatibilists, it is maintained, are talking past each other, since they use the terms “free will” and “moral responsibility” in different senses. In this paper I argue, first, that the triviality objection is indeed a formidable one and that the standard replies (...)
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  • The Lesson of Bypassing.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (4):599-619.
    The idea that incompatibilism is intuitive is one of the key motivators for incompatibilism. Not surprisingly, then philosophers who defend incompatibilism often claim that incompatibilism is the natural, commonsense view about free will and moral responsibility (e.g., Pereboom 2001, Kane Journal of Philosophy 96:217–240 1999, Strawson 1986). And a number of recent studies find that people give apparently incompatibilist responses in vignette studies. When participants are presented with a description of a causal deterministic universe, they tend to deny that people (...)
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  • Neuroscientific Prediction and the Intrusion of Intuitive Metaphysics.David Rose, Wesley Buckwalter & Shaun Nichols - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (7).
    How might advanced neuroscience—in which perfect neuro-predictions are possible—interact with ordinary judgments of free will? We propose that peoples' intuitive ideas about indeterminist free will are both imported into and intrude into their representation of neuroscientific scenarios and present six experiments demonstrating intrusion and importing effects in the context of scenarios depicting perfect neuro-prediction. In light of our findings, we suggest that the intuitive commitment to indeterminist free will may be resilient in the face of scientific evidence against such free (...)
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  • A Strawsonian Look at Desert.Adina L. Roskies & Bertram F. Malle - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (2):1-20.
    P.F. Strawson famously argued that reactive attitudes and ordinary moral practices justify moral assessments of blame, praise, and punishment. Here we consider whether Strawson's approach can illuminate the concept of desert. After reviewing standard attempts to analyze this concept and finding them lacking, we suggest that to deserve something is to justifiably receive a moral assessment in light of certain criteria – in particular, eligibility criteria and assignment criteria. Strawson's analysis of the ordinary attitudes and practices of moral assessment hints (...)
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  • Free Will and Contextualism.Steven Rieber - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 129 (2):223-252.
    This paper proposes a contextualist solution to the puzzle about free will. It argues that the context-sensitivity of statements about freedom of the will follows from the correct analysis of these statements. Because the analysis is independently plausible, the contextualism is warranted not merely in virtue of its capacity to solve the puzzle.
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  • Autism and Moral Responsibility: Executive Function, Reasons Responsiveness, and Reasons Blockage.Kenneth A. Richman - 2017 - Neuroethics 11 (1):23-33.
    As a neurodevelopmental condition that affects cognitive functioning, autism has been used as a test case for theories of moral responsibility. Most of the relevant literature focuses on autism’s impact on theory of mind and empathy. Here I examine aspects of autism related to executive function. I apply an account of how we might fail to be reasons responsive to argue that autism can increase the frequency of excuses for transgressive behavior, but will rarely make anyone completely exempt from moral (...)
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  • Self-Representation & Good Determination.Michael Popejoy - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):113-122.
    I argue that a distinction made in recent literature in the philosophy of mind between self-organizing and self-governing systems can serve as the basis of a principled distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ determination on the part of the compatibilist with respect to freedom or control. I first consider two arguments for the claim that causal determinism undermines control: the Consequence Argument as presented by Peter van Inwagen, and the Four Case Argument of Derk Pereboom. I then elucidate the difference between (...)
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  • Undivided Forward-Looking Moral Responsibility.Derk Pereboom - 2021 - The Monist 104 (4):484-497.
    This article sets out a forward-looking account of moral responsibility on which the ground-level practice is directly sensitive to aims such as moral formation and reconciliation, and is not subject to a barrier between tiers. On the contrasting two-tier accounts defended by Daniel Dennett and Manuel Vargas, the ground-level practice features backward-looking, desert-invoking justifications that are in turn justified by forward-looking considerations at the higher tier. The concern raised for the two-tier view is that the ground-level practice will be insufficiently (...)
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  • The Right Perspective on Responsibility for Ill Health.Karl Persson - 2013 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (3):429-441.
    There is a growing trend in policy making of holding people responsible for their lifestyle-based diseases. This has sparked a heated debate on whether people are responsible for these illnesses, which has now come to an impasse. In this paper, I present a psychological model that explains why different views on people’s responsibility for their health exist and how we can reach a resolution of the disagreement. My conclusion is that policymakers should not perceive people as responsible while health care (...)
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  • Participant Reactive Attitudes and Collective Responsibility.Deborah Perron Tollefsen - 2003 - Philosophical Explorations 6 (3):218-234.
    The debate surrounding the issue of collective moral responsibility is often steeped in metaphysical issues of agency and personhood. I suggest that we can approach the metaphysical problems surrounding the issue of collective responsibility in a roundabout manner. My approach is reminiscent of that taken by P.F. Strawson in "Freedom and Resentment" (1968). Strawson argues that the participant reactive attitudes - attitudes like resentment, gratitude, forgiveness and so on - provide the justification for holding individuals morally responsible. I argue that (...)
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  • 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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  • Improving the Metaphysical Argument Against Free Will.Noel Hendrickson - 2007 - Philosophical Papers 36 (2):271-294.
    Galen Strawson and Saul Smilansky have offered a well-known argument that free will does not exist because the control involved is so robust that it would require influence over an infinite series of prior decisions. (Strawson 1986, 1994, 2002, Smilansky 2000, 2002) Unfortunately, while this metaphysical argument has attracted widespread attention, it has garnered few adherents. Thus, in order to improve the metaphysical argument against free will, I offer a new interpretation of the argument, its fundamental principle, and its relationship (...)
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  • The Folk Psychology of Free Will: Fits and Starts.Shaun Nichols - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (5):473-502.
    According to agent-causal accounts of free will, agents have the capacity to cause actions, and for a given action, an agent could have done otherwise. This paper uses existing results and presents experimental evidence to argue that young children deploy a notion of agent-causation. If young children do have such a notion, however, it remains quite unclear how they acquire it. Several possible acquisition stories are canvassed, including the possibility that the notion of agent-causation develops from a prior notion of (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions.Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):663–685.
    An empirical study of people's intuitions about freedom of the will. We show that people tend to have compatiblist intuitions when they think about the problem in a more concrete, emotional way but that they tend to have incompatiblist intuitions when they think about the problem in a more abstract, cognitive way.
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  • After Incompatibilism: A Naturalistic Defense of the Reactive Attitudes.Shaun Nichols - 2007 - Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):405-428.
    From the first time I encountered the problem of free will in college, it struck me that a clear-eyed view of free will and moral responsibility demanded some form of nihilism. Libertarianism seemed delusional, and compatibilism seemed in bad faith. Hence I threw my lot in with philosophers like Paul d’Holbach, Galen Strawson, and Derk Pereboom who conclude that no one is truly moral responsible. But after two decades of self- identifying as a nihilist, it occurred to me that I (...)
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  • Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Mechanism: Experiments on Folk Intuitions.Eddy Nahmias, D. Justin Coates & Trevor Kvaran - 2007 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):214–242.
    In this paper we discuss studies that show that most people do not find determinism to be incompatible with free will and moral responsibility if determinism is described in a way that does not suggest mechanistic reductionism. However, if determinism is described in a way that suggests reductionism, that leads people to interpret it as threatening to free will and responsibility. We discuss the implications of these results for the philosophical debates about free will, moral responsibility, and determinism.
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  • Close Calls and the Confident Agent: Free Will, Deliberation, and Alternative Possibilities.Eddy Nahmias - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (3):627-667.
    Two intuitions lie at the heart of our conception of free will. One intuition locates free will in our ability to deliberate effectively and control our actions accordingly: the ‘Deliberation and Control’ (DC) condition. The other intuition is that free will requires the existence of alternative possibilities for choice: the AP condition. These intuitions seem to conflict when, for instance, we deliberate well to decide what to do, and we do not want it to be possible to act in some (...)
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  • Surveying Freedom: Folk Intuitions About Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):561-584.
    Philosophers working in the nascent field of ‘experimental philosophy’ have begun using methods borrowed from psychology to collect data about folk intuitions concerning debates ranging from action theory to ethics to epistemology. In this paper we present the results of our attempts to apply this approach to the free will debate, in which philosophers on opposing sides claim that their view best accounts for and accords with folk intuitions. After discussing the motivation for such research, we describe our methodology of (...)
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  • Folk Intuitions, Slippery Slopes, and Necessary Fictions: An Essay on Saul Smilansky's Free Will Illusionism.Thomas Nadelhoffer & Adam Feltz - 2007 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):202-213.
    A number of philosophers have recently become increasingly interested in the potential usefulness of fictitious and illusory beliefs.As a result, a wide variety of fictionalisms and illusionisms have sprung up in areas ranging anywhere from mathematics and modality to morality.1 In this paper, we focus on the view that Saul Smilansky has dubbed “free will illusionism”—for example, the purportedly descriptive claim that the majority of people have illusory beliefs concerning the existence of libertarian free will, coupled with the normative claim (...)
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  • Folk Intuitions, Slippery Slopes, and Necessary Fictions : An Essay on Saul Smilansky's Free Will Illusionism.Thomas Nadelhoffer - 2007 - In Peter A. French & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.), Philosophy and the Empirical. Blackwell. pp. 202–213.
    During the past two decades, an interest among philosophers in fictitious and illusory beliefs has sprung up in fields ranging anywhere from mathematics and modality to morality.1 In this paper, we focus primarily on the view that Saul Smilansky has dubbed “free will illusionism”—i.e., the purportedly descriptive claim that most people have illusory beliefs concerning the existence of libertarian free will, coupled with the normative claim that because dispelling these illusory beliefs would produce negative personal and societal consequences, those of (...)
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  • Explaining Away Incompatibilist Intuitions.Dylan Murray & Eddy Nahmias - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):434-467.
    The debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists depends in large part on what ordinary people mean by ‘free will’, a matter on which previous experimental philosophy studies have yielded conflicting results. In Nahmias, Morris, Nadelhoffer, and Turner (2005, 2006), most participants judged that agents in deterministic scenarios could have free will and be morally responsible. Nichols and Knobe (2007), though, suggest that these apparent compatibilist responses are performance errors produced by using concrete scenarios, and that their abstract scenarios reveal the folk (...)
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  • A Good Enough Reason: Addiction, Agency and Criminal Responsibility.Stephen J. Morse - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (5):490 - 518.
    ABSTRACT The article begins by contrasting medical and moral views of addiction and how such views influence responsibility and policy analysis. It suggests that since addiction always involves action and action can always be morally evaluated, we must independently decide whether addicts do not meet responsibility criteria rather than begging the question and deciding by the label of ?disease? or ?moral weakness?. It then turns to the criteria for criminal responsibility and shows that the criteria for criminal responsibility, like the (...)
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  • The Zygote Argument is Invalid: Now What?Kristin Mickelson - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):2911-2929.
    Alfred Mele’s original Zygote Argument is invalid. At most, its premises entail the negative thesis that free action is incompossible with deterministic laws, but its conclusion asserts the positive thesis that deterministic laws preclude free action. The original, explanatory conclusion of the Zygote Argument can be defended only by supplementing the Zygote Argument with a best-explanation argument that identifies deterministic laws as menacing. Arguably, though, the best explanation for the manipulation victim’s lack of freedom and responsibility is his constitutive luck, (...)
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  • A Critique of Vihvelin’s Three-Fold Classification.Kristin Mickelson - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):85-99.
    In this essay, I argue for the rejection of Vihvelin's ‘Three-fold Classification’ , a nonstandard taxonomy of free-will compatibilism, incompatibilism, and impossibilism. Vihvelin is right that the standard taxonomy of these views is inadequate, and that a new taxonomy is needed to clarify the free-will debate. Significantly, Vihvelin notes that the standard formal definition of ‘incompatibilism’ does not capture the historically popular view that deterministic laws pose a threat to free will. Vihvelin's proposed solution is to redefine ‘incompatibilism.’ However, Vihvelin's (...)
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  • On Being One's Own Person.D. Meyerson - 1998 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (4):447-466.
    The aim of the paper is to provide a philosophical account of our sense that some people are more their own person than others. I begin by exposing the weaknesses in three possible accounts, which I label the "interventionist", the "existentialist" and the "ideal" accounts. I then go on to argue that the distinguishing feature of those who are their own person is that their natural inclinations are accurately expressed in their behaviour.
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  • Truth and Freedom.Trenton Merricks - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (1):29-57.
    Suppose that time t is just a few moments from now. And suppose that the proposition that Jones sits at t was true a thousand years ago. Does the thousand-years-ago truth of that proposition imply that Jones's upcoming sitting at t will not be free? This article argues that it does not. It also argues that Jones even now has a choice about the thousand-years-ago truth of that Jones sits at t . Those arguments do not require the complex machinery (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility and Agents' Histories.Alfred Mele - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (2):161 - 181.
    To what extent should an analysis of an agent’s being morally responsible for an action that he performed—especially a compatibilist analysis of this—be sensitive to the agent’s history? In this article, I give the issue a clearer focus than it tends to have in the literature, I lay some groundwork for an attempt to answer the question, and I motivate a partial but detailed answer.
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  • Moral Responsibility and Agents’ Histories.Alfred Mele - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (2):161-181.
    To what extent should an analysis of an agent’s being morally responsible for an action that he performed—especially a compatibilist analysis of this—be sensitive to the agent’s history? In this article, I give the issue a clearer focus than it tends to have in the literature, I lay some groundwork for an attempt to answer the question, and I motivate a partial but detailed answer.
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  • Whose Argumentative Burden, Which Incompatibilist Arguments?—Getting the Dialectic Right.Michael McKenna - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):429-443.
    Kadri Vihvelin has recently argued that between compatibilists and incompatibilists, the incompatibilists have a greater dialectical burden than compatibilists. According to her, both must show that free will is possible, but beyond this the incompatibilists must also show that no deterministic worlds are free will worlds. Thus, according to Vihvelin, so long as it is established that free will is possible, all the compatibilist must do is show that the incompatibilists' arguments are ineffective. I resist Vihvelin's assessment of the dialectical (...)
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  • Manipulation Arguments, Basic Desert, and Moral Responsibility: Assessing Derk Pereboom’s Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life.Michael McKenna - 2017 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (3):575-589.
    In this paper I critically assess Derk Pereboom’s book, Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life. In it, I resist Pereboom’s manipulation argument for incompatibilism and his indictment of desert-based accounts of moral responsibility.
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  • Construccionismo social y el sujeto libre: sobre negaciones y consecuencias.Pablo López-Silva & Mauricio Otaíza - 2015 - Revista de Filosofia Aurora 27 (41):569.
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  • Recent Work on Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Neil Levy & Michael McKenna - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):96-133.
    In this article we survey six recent developments in the philosophical literature on free will and moral responsibility: (1) Harry Frankfurt's argument that moral responsibility does not require the freedom to do otherwise; (2) the heightened focus upon the source of free actions; (3) the debate over whether moral responsibility is an essentially historical concept; (4) recent compatibilist attempts to resurrect the thesis that moral responsibility requires the freedom to do otherwise; (5) the role of the control condition in free (...)
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  • Neural Holism and Free Will.Donald Levy - 2003 - Philosophical Psychology 16 (2):205-229.
    Both libertarian and compatibilist approaches have been unsuccessful in providing an acceptable account of free will. Recent developments in cognitive neuroscience, including the connectionist theory of mind and empirical findings regarding modularity and integration of brain functions, provide the basis for a new approach: neural holism. This approach locates free will in fully integrated behavior in which all of a person's beliefs and desires, implicitly represented in the brain, automatically contribute to an act. Deliberation, the experience of volition, and cognitive (...)
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