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Hard-Incompatibilist Existentialism: Neuroscience, Punishment, and Meaning in Life

In Gregg D. Caruso & Owen Flanagan (eds.), Neuroexistentialism: Meaning, Morals, and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience. Oxford University Press (2018)

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  1. Justice without Retribution: An Epistemic Argument against Retributive Criminal Punishment.Gregg D. Caruso - 2020 - Neuroethics 13 (1):13-28.
    Within the United States, the most prominent justification for criminal punishment is retributivism. This retributivist justification for punishment maintains that punishment of a wrongdoer is justified for the reason that she deserves something bad to happen to her just because she has knowingly done wrong—this could include pain, deprivation, or death. For the retributivist, it is the basic desert attached to the criminal’s immoral action alone that provides the justification for punishment. This means that the retributivist position is not reducible (...)
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  • Retributivism, Justification and Credence: The Epistemic Argument Revisited.Sofia M. I. Jeppsson - forthcoming - Neuroethics:1-14.
    Harming other people is prima facie wrong. Unless we can be very certain that doing so is justified under the circumstances, we ought not to do it. In this paper, I argue that we ought to dismantle harsh retributivist criminal justice systems for this reason; we cannot be sufficiently certain that the harm is justified. Gregg Caruso, Ben Vilhauer and others have previously argued for the same conclusion; however, my own version sidesteps certain controversial premises of theirs. Harsh retributivist criminal (...)
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  • Incapacitation, Reintegration, and Limited General Deterrence.Derk Pereboom - 2020 - Neuroethics 13 (1):87-97.
    The aim of this article is to set out a theory for treatment of criminals that rejects retributive justification for punishment; does not fall afoul of a plausible prohibition on using people merely as means; and actually works in the real world. The theory can be motivated by free will skepticism. But it can also be supported without reference to the free will issue, since retributivism faces ethical challenges in its own right. In past versions of the account I’ve emphasized (...)
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  • Buddhism, Free Will, and Punishment: Taking Buddhist Ethics Seriously.Gregg D. Caruso - 2020 - Zygon 55 (2):474-496.
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  • Free Will Skepticism and Its Implications: An Argument for Optimism.Gregg Caruso - forthcoming - In Elizabeth Shaw (ed.), Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society.
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  • Consciousness, Free Will, Moral Responsibility.Caruso Gregg - forthcoming - In Rocco Gennaro (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Consciousness. Routledge.
    In recent decades, with advances in the behavioral, cognitive, and neurosciences, the idea that patterns of human behavior may ultimately be due to factors beyond our conscious control has increasingly gained traction and renewed interest in the age-old problem of free will. To properly assess what, if anything, these empirical advances can tell us about free will and moral responsibility, we first need to get clear on the following questions: Is consciousness necessary for free will? If so, what role or (...)
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  • Origination, Moral Responsibility, Punishment, and Life-Hopes: Ted Honderich on Determinism and Freedom.Gregg Caruso - 2018 - In Gregg D. Caruso (ed.), Ted Honderich on Consciousness, Determinism, and Humanity. London, UK:
    Perhaps no one has written more extensively, more deeply, and more insightfully about determinism and freedom than Ted Honderich. His influence and legacy with regard to the problem of free will—or the determinism problem, as he prefers to frame it—looms large. In these comments I would like to focus on three main aspects of Honderich ’s work: his defense of determinism and its consequences for origination and moral responsibility; his concern that the truth of determinism threatens and restricts, but does (...)
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  • Free Will Skepticism and the Question of Creativity: Creativity, Desert, and Self-Creation.D. Caruso Gregg - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
    Free will skepticism maintains that what we do, and the way we are, is ultimately the result of factors beyond our control and because of this we are never morally responsible for our actions in the basic desert sense—the sense that would make us truly deserving of praise and blame. In recent years, a number of contemporary philosophers have advanced and defended versions of free will skepticism, including Derk Pereboom (2001, 2014), Galen Strawson (2010), Neil Levy (2011), Bruce Waller (2011, (...)
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  • The Public Health-Quarantine Model.Gregg D. Caruso - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of Moral Responsibility. New York: Oxford University Press.
    One of the most frequently voiced criticisms of free will skepticism is that it is unable to adequately deal with criminal behavior and that the responses it would permit as justified are insufficient for acceptable social policy. This concern is fueled by two factors. The first is that one of the most prominent justifications for punishing criminals, retributivism, is incompatible with free will skepticism. The second concern is that alternative justifications that are not ruled out by the skeptical view per (...)
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  • Criminal Quarantine and the Burden of Proof.Michael Corrado - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (4):1095-1110.
    In the recent literature a number of free will skeptics, skeptics who believe that punishment is justified only if deserved, have argued for these two points: first, that the free will realist who would justify punishment has the burden of establishing to a high level of certainty - perhaps beyond a reasonable doubt, but certainly at least by clear and convincing evidence - that any person to be punished acted freely in breaking the law; and, second, that that level of (...)
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  • Skepticism About Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018):1-81.
    Skepticism about moral responsibility, or what is more commonly referred to as moral responsibility skepticism, refers to a family of views that all take seriously the possibility that human beings are never morally responsible for their actions in a particular but pervasive sense. This sense is typically set apart by the notion of basic desert and is defined in terms of the control in action needed for an agent to be truly deserving of blame and praise. Some moral responsibility skeptics (...)
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