Constitutive Moral Luck and Strawson's Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (2):165-183 (2018)
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Abstract

Galen Strawson’s Basic Argument is that because self-creation is required to be truly morally responsible and self-creation is impossible, it is impossible to be truly morally responsible for anything. I contend that the Basic Argument is unpersuasive and unsound. First, I argue that the moral luck debate shows that the self-creation requirement appears to be contradicted and supported by various parts of our commonsense ideas about moral responsibility, and that this ambivalence undermines the only reason that Strawson gives for the self-creation requirement. Second, I argue that the self-creation requirement is so demanding that either it is an implausible requirement for a species of true moral responsibility that we take ourselves to have or it is a plausible requirement of a species of true moral responsibility that we have never taken ourselves to have. Third, I explain that Strawson overgeneralizes from instances of constitutive luck that obviously undermine moral responsibility to all kinds of constitutive luck.

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Robert J. Hartman
Ohio Northern University

Citations of this work

Moral Luck and The Unfairness of Morality.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3179-3197.
Free Will, Self‐Creation, and the Paradox of Moral Luck.Kristin M. Mickelson - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):224-256.
Kant Does Not Deny Resultant Moral Luck.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):136-150.

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References found in this work

Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Harvard University Press.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - Oxford University Press.

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