Never forget your friends or their explanatory priority

Abstract

of (from British Columbia Philosophy Graduate Conference) This paper attempts to argue for an interpretation of Peter Strawson�s account of moral responsibility that successfully eliminates the threat of determinism. The goal is to capture the spirit of Strawson�s view and elucidate that spirit. I do this by emphasizing an aspect of Strawson�s account that others, like Paul Russell, may find insignificant, and then I demonstrate how this aspect is meant to quash the threat of determinism. Specifically, I claim that Strawson wishes us to recognize that certain interpersonal relationships are explanatorily prior to the capacities necessary for morally responsible agency, and this explanatory relationship implies that (at least in our world) the capacities necessary for morally responsible agency could not include freedom from determinism.

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Devlin Russell
York University

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