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THE PROBLEM OF FREE WILL AND DETERMINISM: AN ABDUCTIVE APPROACH

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Kristin Mickelson
Publicerad i Social Philosophy & Policy
Volym 36
Nummer/häfte 1
Sidor 154-172
ISSN 0265-0525
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för filosofi, lingvistik och vetenskapsteori
Sidor 154-172
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1017/s026505251900020...
Ämnesord moral responsibility, blame, character, will, self-forming actions, free will, determinism, Social Sciences - Other Topics, Philosophy
Ämneskategorier Filosofi

Sammanfattning

In this essay, I distinguish two dimensions of responsibility: (i) responsibility for expressing the will (character, motives, and purposes) one has in action (voluntarily and without constraint) and (ii) responsibility for having the will one expresses in action. I argue that taking both of these dimensions into account is necessary to do full justice to our understanding of moral responsibility and our ordinary practices of holding persons responsible in moral and legal contexts. I further argue that the distinction between these dimensions of responsibility is importantly related to understanding age-old debates about the freedom of the will. For the first dimension of responsibility is historically related to the freedom of action-the power to freely express the will one already has in action. While the second dimension is historically related to the freedom of the will-the power to freely form or shape that will one may later express in action. And I argue that while the freedom of action so defined may be compatible with determinism, the freedom of will, and the deeper responsibility associated with it for forming one's own will, which I call "ultimate responsibility," are not compatible with a thoroughgoing determinism. In arguing throughout the essay for these claims and for the need to take into account both of these dimensions to do full justice to our understanding of moral responsibility, I consider ordinary practices of holding persons responsible in a variety of moral and legal contexts, discussing in the process H. L. A. Hart's "fair opportunity to avoid wrongdoing" criterion for assessing responsibility and blame in legal and criminal contexts, the relevance of recent experimental studies about folk intuitions concerning assessments of responsibility and blame, Harry Frankfurt's critique of the "principle of alternative possibilities," the distinction between "will-settled" and "will-setting" actions, and contemporary critiques of the very possibility and intelligibility of an ultimate responsibility for forming one's own will that would be incompatible with determinism.

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