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5.4c.5. Free Will and Responsibility (Free Will and Responsibility on PhilPapers)

Baker, Lynne Rudder, What is human freedom?   (Google)
Abstract: After centuries of reflection, the issue of human freedom remains vital largely because of its connection to moral responsibility. When I ask—What is human freedom?—I mean to be asking what kind of freedom is required for moral responsibility? Questions about moral responsibility are intimately connected to questions about social policy and justice; so, the issue of moral responsibility—of desert, of whether or not anyone is ever really praiseworthy or blameworthy—has practical as well as theoretical significance
Barnette, R. L. (1979). Brainwashing and Responsible Action. The Personalist 60 (1):61-75.   (Google)
Berofsky, Bernard (1987). Freedom From Necessity: The Metaphysical Basis of Responsibility. Routledge.   (Cited by 15 | Google)
Bernstein, Mark H. (1981). Moral responsibility and free will. Southern Journal of Philosophy 19:1-10.   (Google)
Blumberg, David (1971). Determinism and moral responsibility. Journal of Value Inquiry 5 (3).   (Google)
Braddock, Matthew C. (2009). Evolutionary psychology's moral implications. Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):531-540.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper, I critically summarize John Cartwrtight’s Evolution and Human Behavior and evaluate what he says about certain moral implications of Darwinian views of human behavior. He takes a Darwinism-doesn’t-rock-the-boat approach and argues that Darwinism, even if it is allied with evolutionary psychology, does not give us reason to be worried about the alterability of our behavior, nor does it give us reason to think that we may have to change our ordinary practices and views concerning free-will and moral responsibility. In response, I contend that Darwinism, when it is allied with evolutionary psychology, makes for a more potent cocktail than Cartwright suspects
Buss, Sarah (1997). Review of John Fischer's Metaphysics of Free Will. Philosophical Books 38 (2):117-121.   (Google)
Carlson, Erik (1998). Van Inwagen on determinism and moral responsibility. Journal of Value Inquiry 32 (2).   (Google)
Clarke, Randolph (1992). Free will and the conditions of moral responsibility. Philosophical Studies 66 (1):53-72.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Dennett, Daniel C. (1984). I could not have done otherwise--so what? Journal of Philosophy 81 (10):553-565.   (Google)
Abstract: Peter van Inwagen notes: "... almost all philosophers agree that a necessary condition for holding an agent responsible for an act is believing that the agent could have refrained from performing that act." Perhaps van Inwagen is right; perhaps most philosophers agree on this. If so, this shared assumption, which I will call CDO (for "could have done otherwise"), is a good candidate for denial, especially since there turns out to be so little to be said in support of it, once it is called in question. I will argue that, just like those people who are famous only for being famous, this assumption owes its traditional high regard to nothing more than its traditional high regard. It is almost never questioned. And the tradition itself, I will claim, is initially motivated by little more than inattentive extrapolation from familiar cases. To engage the issue, I assert that it simply does not matter at all to moral responsibility whether the agent in question could have done otherwise in the circumstances.
Double, Richard (1997). Misdirection on the free will problem. American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (3):359-68.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: The belief that only free will supports assignments of moral responsibility -- deserved praise and blame, punishment and reward, and the expression of reactive attitudes and moral censure -- has fueled most of the historical concern over the existence of free will. Free will's connection to moral responsibility also drives contemporary thinkers as diverse in their substantive positions as Peter Strawson, Thomas Nagel, Peter van Inwagen, Galen Strawson, and Robert Kane. A simple, but powerful, reason for thinking that philosophers are correct in making moral responsibility the prize of the free will problem is this: If we disassociate free will from deserved praise, blame, punishment and reward, reactive attitudes and moral censure, then why care about free will? If free will is not pinned down as that degree of freedom in our choices that we need for moral responsibility, it is difficult to see why anyone would or should care about free will. In this article I argue that some of the most prominent recent writing on free will becomes sidetracked from this key issue. For this reason, a good deal of the literature is so much spilled ink as philosophers misdirect their energies. In section 1 I elaborate just what I believe the key issue in the free will problem is. In section 2 I illustrate what an answer to the key issue requires. In section 3 I suggest motivations for misdirection. In sections 4, 5, and 6 I provide detailed examples of misdirection from compatibilists and libertarians. In sections 7 and 8 I describe some non-misdirected answers to the key question.
Dworkin, Gerald B. (ed.) (1970). Determinism, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Prentice-Hall.   (Cited by 11 | Google)
Abstract: Of liberty and necessity, by D. Hume.--The doctrine of necessity examined, by C. S. Peirce.--Determinism in history, by E. Nagel.--Some arguments for free will, by T. Reid.--Has the self free will? by C. A. Campbell.--Dialogue on free will, by L. de Valla.--Can the will be caused? by C. Ginet.--Free will, by G. E. Moore.--A modal muddle, by S. N. Thomas.--Determinism, indeterminism, and libertarianism, by C. D. Broad.--An empirical disproof of determinism? by K. Lehrer.--Free will, praise and blame, by J. J. C. Smart.--Bibliographical essay.
Ferraiolo, William (2004). Against compatibilism: Compulsion, free agency and moral responsibility. Sorites 15 (December):67-72.   (Google)
Fischer, John Martin (1998). Moral responsibility and the metaphysics of free will: Reply to Van Inwagen. Philosophical Quarterly 48 (191):215-220.   (Google | More links)
Fischer, John Martin (2003). ‘Ought-implies-can’, causal determinism and moral responsibility. Analysis 63 (279):244–250.   (Google | More links)
Frankfurt, Harry G. (1969). Alternate possibilities and moral responsibility. Journal of Philosophy 66 (3):829-39.   (Cited by 173 | Google | More links)
Fulda, Joseph S. (1992). The mathematical pull of temptation. Mind 101 (402):305-307.   (Google | More links)
Fulda, Joseph S. & Milne, Peter (2009). The mathematical pull of temptation revisited. Acta Analytica 24 (2):91-96.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper, we defend and extend a (simple) mathematical model of /akrasia/
Grau, Christopher (2000). Moral Responsibility and Wolf's Ability. In den Beld Tovann (ed.), Moral Responsibility and Ontology, (The Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy, vol. 7). Kluwer Academic Publishers.   (Google)
Hodgson, David (online). Why I (still) believe in free will and responsibility.   (Google)
Honderich, Ted (online). Free will, determinism, and moral responsibility: The whole thing in brief.   (Google)
Hyslop, James H. (1895). Mr. Ritchie on free-will and responsibility. International Journal of Ethics 6 (1):101-103.   (Google | More links)
Velleman, J. David (1989). Epistemic freedom. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 70 (1):73-97.   (Google)
Abstract: Epistemic freedom is the freedom to affirm anyone of several incompatible propositions without risk of being wrong. We sometimes have this freedom, strange as it seems, and our having it sheds some light on the topic of free will and determinism. This paper sketches a potential explanation for our feeling of freedom. The freedom that I postulate is not causal but epistemic (in a sense that I shall define), and the result is that it is quite compatible with determinism. I therefore claim that insofar as we feel metaphysically free-free in a sense that would be incompatible with determinism-we are mistaking the epistemic freedom that we have for a kind of freedom that we may lack. This claim will lead me, at the end of the paper, to a projectivist account of moral responsibility. Ascriptions of moral responsibility, I shall suggest, should be treated in the same way as ascriptions of color or other secondary qualities.
Kane, Robert (2000). Free will and responsibility: Ancient dispute, new themes. Journal of Ethics 4 (4).   (Google)
Kearns, Stephen (forthcoming). Responsibility for necessities. Philosophical Studies.   (Google)
Abstract: It is commonly held that no one can be morally responsible for a necessary truth. In this paper, I will provide various examples that cast doubt on this idea. I also show that one popular argument for the incompatibility of moral responsibility and determinism (van Inwagen’s Direct Argument) fails given my examples
Kenny, A. J. P. (1978). Free Will and Responsibility. Routledge.   (Cited by 18 | Google)
Levy, Neil & McKenna, Michael (2009). Recent work on free will and moral responsibility. Philosophy Compass 4 (1):96-133.   (Google)
Abstract: 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 will and moral responsibility, and finally (6) the debate centering on luck
Maier, Andreas (2008). Weeding in the garden of forking paths - yet another look at alternate possibilities. Grazer Philosophische Studien 76 (1):228-235.   (Google)
Mandelbaum, Maurice (1960). Determinism and moral responsibility. Ethics 70 (3):204-219.   (Google | More links)
McIntyre, Alison (1994). Compatibilists could have done otherwise: Responsibility and negative agency. Philosophical Review 103 (3):453-488.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Mele, Alfred R. & Robb, David (2003). Bbs, Magnets and Seesaws: The Metaphysics of Frankfurt-style Cases. In David Widerker & Michael McKenna (eds.), Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities: Essays on the Importance of Alternative Possibilities. Ashgate.   (Google)
Moya Espí, Carlos J. (2003). Blockage cases: No case against Pap. Critica 35 (104):109-120.   (Google)
Nahmias, Eddy A.; Morris, Stephen G.; Nadelhoffer, Thomas & Turner, Jason (2005). Surveying freedom: Folk intuitions about free will and moral responsibility. Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):561–584.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: 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 surveying people’s prephilosophical judgments about the freedom and responsibility of agents in deterministic scenarios. In two studies, we found that a majority of participants judged that such agents act of their own free will and are morally responsible for their actions. We then discuss the philosophical implications of our results as well as various difficulties inherent in such research
Nahmias, Eddy (2007). Autonomous Agency and Social Psychology. In Massimo Marraffa, Mario Cardeo & Francesco Ferretti (eds.), Cartographies of the Mind: Philosophy and Psychology in Intersection. Springer.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: But other threats to autonomy are less often discussed, threats that are not metaphysical or political but psychological. These are threats based on putative facts about human psychology that suggest we do not govern our behavior according to principles we have consciously chosen. For instance, if our behavior were governed primarily by unconscious Freudian desires rather than by our reflectively considered desires, we would be much less autonomous than we presume. Or if our behaviors were the result of a history of Skinnerian reinforcement rather than conscious consideration, our actions would be shaped by our environment more than by our principles. Since the influence of Freud and Skinner has waned, we might feel we have escaped such threats to our autonomy from psychology. But, as I will explain below, more recent and viable theories and evidence from social psychology pose significant threats to autonomous agency.
Nelkin, Dana K. (2005). Freedom, responsibility and the challenge of situationism. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):181–206.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In conclusion, then, the situationist literature provides a rich area of exploration for those interested in freedom and responsibility. Interestingly, it does not do so primarily because it is situationist in the sense of supporting the substantive thesis about the role of character traits. Rather it is because it makes us wonder whether we really do act on a regular basis with the particular normative, epistemic,and reactive capacities that are central to our identity as free and responsible agents.
Nichols, Shaun & Knobe, Joshua (2007). Moral responsibility and determinism: The cognitive science of folk intuitions. Noûs 41 (4):663–685.   (Cited by 12 | Google | More links)
Abstract: 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
Nowell-Smith, P. (1948). Freewill and moral responsibility. Mind 57 (225):45-61.   (Google | More links)
O'Connor, Timothy (2001). Causation and Responsibility. In Lawrence Becker & Charlotte Becker (eds.), Encyclopedia of Ethics. Garland Publishing.   (Google)
O'Connor, Timothy (2003). Review of Derk Pereboom, Living Without Free Will. Philosophical Quarterly 53:308-310.   (Google)
O'Connor, Timothy (2003). Understanding free will: Might we double-think? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (1):222-229.   (Google | More links)
Palmer, David (forthcoming). Pereboom on the Frankfurt cases. Philosophical Studies.   (Google)
Abstract: According to the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP), a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. In what follows, I want to defend this principle against an apparent counterexample offered recently by Derk Pereboom (Living without free will, 2001 ; Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 29:228–247, 2005 ). Pereboom’s case, a variant of what are known as ‘Frankfurt cases,’ is important for it attempts to overcome a dilemma posed for earlier alleged counterexamples to PAP. However, I will argue that by paying closer attention to the details of Pereboom’s example, we see that his example fails to show a way between the horns of the dilemma posed for the earlier Frankfurt examples
Pap, Arthur (1946). Determinism and moral responsibility. Journal of Philosophy 43 (12):318-327.   (Google | More links)
Paske, Gerald H. (1970). Responsibility and the incompatibility principle. Personalist 51:477-485.   (Google)
Radcliff, Peter (1971). Matson and Hospers on free will and responsibility. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 32 (2):250-258.   (Google | More links)
Ritchie, David G. (1895). Free-will and responsibility. International Journal of Ethics 5 (4):409-431.   (Google | More links)
Ritchie, David G. (1896). Free-will and responsibility. International Journal of Ethics 6 (2):249-250.   (Google | More links)
Roberts, Lawrence D. (1971). Indeterminism, chance, and responsibility. Ratio 13 (December):195-199.   (Google)
Roskies, Adina L. (online). Neuroscientific challenges to free will and responsibility.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: phenomena that are hallmarks of what it is to be human free will whether or not the universe is deterministic, many [1,2,4,26]. There is now a widespread and industrious people think that freedom can yet be salvaged if the scientific community, whose aim is to understand the universe is indeterministic, for they favor a Libertarian mechanisms underlying these phenomena [7,9,10, account which posits an agent as an uncaused cause 27–32]. The underlying worry is that those things that [17,18]. In that case, trouble arises if the universe is once seemed to be forever beyond the reach of science deterministic. might soon succumb to it: neuroscience will lead us to see the ‘universe within’ as just part and parcel of the
Rowe, William L. (2006). Free will, moral responsibility, and the problem of OOMPH. Journal of Ethics 10 (3):295-313.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Thomas Reid developed an important theory of freedom and moral responsibility resting on the concept of agent-causation, by which he meant the power of a rational agent to cause or not cause a volition resulting in an action. He held that this power is limited in that occasions occur when one's emotions or other forces may preclude its exercise. John Martin Fischer has raised an objection – the not enough ‘Oomph’ objection – against any incompatibilist account of freedom and moral responsibility. In this essay I argue that Fischer's not enough ‘Oomph’ objection fails to provide any reasons for rejecting Reid's incompatibilist, agent-causation account of freedom and moral responsibility
Rudder Baker, Lynne (2006). Moral responsibility without libertarianism. Noûs 40 (2):307–330.   (Google | More links)
Shabo, Seth (forthcoming). Against Logical Versions of the Direct Argument: A New Counterexample. American Philosophical Quarterly.   (Google)
Abstract: Here I motivate and defend a new counterexample to logical (or non-causal) versions of the direct argument for responsibility-determinism incompatibilism. Such versions purport to establish incompatibilism via an inference principle to the effect that non-responsibility transfers along relations of logical consequence, including those that hold between earlier and later states of a deterministic world. Unlike previous counterexamples, this case doesn't depend on preemptive overdetermination; nor can it be blocked with a simple modification of the inference principle. In defending this counterexample, I show that van Inwagen's technical notion of being partly responsible for a state of affairs, which figures in his statement of the principle, is problematic.
Shabo, Seth (forthcoming). What Must a Proof of Incompatibilism Prove? Philosophical Studies.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Peter van Inwagen has developed two highly influential strategies for establishing incompatibilism about causal determinism and moral responsibility. These have come to be known as ‘the Direct Argument’ and ‘the Indirect Argument,’ respectively. In recent years, the two arguments have attracted closely related criticisms. In each case, it is claimed, the argument does not provide a fully general defense of the incompatibilist’s conclusion. While the critics are right to notice these arguments’ limitations, they have not made it clear what the problem with the arguments is supposed to be. I suggest three possibilities, arguing that none proves to be well founded. I conclude that the scope of these arguments is fully adequate for their defenders’ purposes.
Sie, Maureen & Wouters, Arno (2008). The real challenge to free will and responsibility. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12 (1):3-4.   (Google)
Abstract: Adina Roskies has argued that worries that recent developments in the neurosciences challenge our ideas of free will and responsibility are misguided. Her argument focuses on the idea that we are able to act differently than we do. However, according to a dominant view in contemporary philosophy, the ability to do otherwise is irrelevant to our judgments of responsibility and free will. It rather is our ability to act for reasons that is crucial. We argue that this view is most significantly challenged by the recent discoveries. Those discoveries show that it is not as obvious and uncontroversial that we act for reasons as it seems. Hence, we have to rethink our concept of reasons-responsiveness
Smilansky, Saul (1990). Van Inwagen on the "obviousness" of libertarian moral responsibility. Analysis 50 (1):29-33.   (Google)
Sommers, Tamler (2009). A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain. McSweeney's Press.   (Google)
Abstract: A collection of long, detailed interviews with philosophers and scientists who work on issues in ethics and moral psychology. The researchers interviewed include Galen Strawson, Philiip Zimbardo, Stephen Stich, Jonathan Haidt, Frans De Waal, Michael Ruse, Joshua Greene, Liane Young, Joe Henrich, and William Ian Miller.
Sommers, Tamler (2009). More work for hard incompatibilism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):511-521.   (Google | More links)
Steward, Helen (2008). Moral responsibility and the irrelevance of physics: Fischer's semi-compatibilism vs. anti-fundamentalism. Journal of Ethics 12 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: The paper argues that it is possible for an incompatibilist to accept John Martin Fischer’s plausible insistence that the question whether we are morally responsible agents ought not to depend on whether the laws of physics turn out to be deterministic or merely probabilistic. The incompatibilist should do so by rejecting the fundamentalism which entails that the question whether determinism is true is a question merely about the nature of the basic physical laws. It is argued that this is a better option for ensuring the irrelevance of physics than the embrace of semi-compatibilism, since there are reasons for supposing that alternate possibilities are necessary for moral responsibility, despite Fischer’s claims to the contrary. There are two distinct reasons for supposing that alternate possibilities might be necessary for moral responsibility—one of which is to do with fairness, the other to do with agency itself. It is suggested that if one focuses on the second of these reasons, Fischer’s arguments for supposing that alternate possibilities are unnecessary for moral responsibility can be met by the incompatibilist. Some possible reasons for denying that alternate possibilities are necessary for the existence of agency are then raised and rejected
Strasser, Mark Philip (1992). Agency, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Hollowbrook.   (Google)
Strawson, Galen (1986). On the inevitability of freedom (from the compatibilist point of view). American Philosophical Quarterly 23:393-400.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: This paper argues that ability to do otherwise (in the compatibilist sense) at the moment of initiation of action is a necessary condition of being able to act at all. If the argument is correct, it shows that Harry Frankfurt never provided a genuine counterexample to the 'principles of alternative possibilities' in his 1969 paper ‘Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility’. The paper was written without knowledge of Frankfurt's paper.
Strawson, Galen (1994). The impossibility of moral responsibility. Philosophical Studies 75 (1-2):5-24.   (Cited by 46 | Google | More links)
Todd, Patrick (forthcoming). A new approach to manipulation arguments. Philosophical Studies.   (Google)
Abstract: There are several argumentative strategies for advancing the thesis that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism. One prominent such strategy is to argue that agents who meet compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility can nevertheless be subject to responsibility-undermining manipulation. In this paper, I argue that incompatibilists advancing manipulation arguments against compatibilism have been shouldering an unnecessarily heavy dialectical burden. Traditional manipulation arguments present cases in which manipulated agents meet all compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility, but are (allegedly) not responsible for their behavior. I argue, however, that incompatibilists can make do with the more modest (and harder to resist) claim that the manipulation in question is mitigating with respect to moral responsibility. The focus solely on whether a manipulated agent is or is not morally responsible has, I believe, masked the full force of manipulation-style arguments against compatibilism. Here, I aim to unveil their real power
Trusted, Jennifer (1984). Free Will and Responsibilty. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Vargas, Manuel R. (2006). Philosophy and the folk. Journal of Cognition and Culture.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: First, unlike a good many philosophical puzzles that absorb the efforts of professional philosophers, the web of problems surrounding free will does not take philosophical training to appreciate. It is a ubiquitously accessible problem discussed at length by novelists, poets, musicians, scientists, religious believers, atheists, and more than a few undergraduates in late- night discussions. At least in the Western philosophical tradition it is also a very old problem: versions of it can be found at least as far back as the Stoics and the Epicureans, and arguably in Aristotle. Taken as a whole, these considerations suggest that at least a significant source of puzzles about free will can be found in aspects of our thinking that are available to us at easily accessible levels of reflection. Second, over the past 30 years or so, the philosophical arsenal of incompatibilists
Vargas, Manuel R. (2005). The revisionist's guide to responsibility. Philosophical Studies 125 (3):399-429.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Revisionism in the theory of moral responsibility is the idea that some aspect of responsibility practices, attitudes, or concept is in need of revision. While the increased frequency of revisionist language in the literature on free will and moral responsibility is striking, what discussion there has been of revisionism about responsibility and free will tends to be critical. In this paper, I argue that at least one species of revisionism, moderate revisionism, is considerably more sophisticated and defensible than critics have realized. I go on to argue for the advantages of moderate revisionist theories over standard compatibilist and incompatibilist theories
Vargas, Manuel (2005). The trouble with tracing. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):269–291.   (Google | More links)
Vilhauer, Benjamin (2009). Free will skepticism and personhood as a desert base. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (3):pp. 489-511.   (Google)
Watson, Gary (1998). Some Worries About Semi-Compatibilism. Journal of Social Philosophy 29 (2):135-143.   (Google)
Wolf, Susan (1987). Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility. In Ferdinand David Schoeman (ed.), Responsibility, Character, and the Emotions: New Essays in Moral Psychology. Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: My strategy is to examine a recent trend in philosophical discussions of responsibility, a trend that tries, but I think ultimately fails, to give an acceptable analysis of the conditions of responsibility. It fails due to what at first appear to be deep and irresolvable metaphysical problems. It is here that I suggest that the condition of sanity comes to the rescue. What at first appears to be an impossible requirement for responsibility---the requirement that the responsible agent have created her- or himself---turns out to be the vastly more mundane and non controversial requirement that the responsible agent must, in a fairly standard sense, be sane.