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The Bounds of freedom

In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press. pp. 441-460 (2002)

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  1. Responsibility Problems for Criminal Justice.Sofia M. I. Jeppsson - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5.
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  • Galen Strawson is a Closet Existentialist; or, the Ballistics of Nothingness.Cruz Cora - 2017 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 9 (1):22-42.
    The subject of free will has suffered something of a renascence in recent popularized American philosophy. The issue is, of course, a Gordian knot of underlying metaphysical and ontological presupposition, in both the analytic and continental traditions. In this paper, I attempt a bit of an untangling, and in doing so, I find that the fundamental position of the contemporary champion of “no freedom” (Galen Strawson) is not only compatible with a radical Sartrean freedom, but that the two philosophers’ deeper (...)
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  • Epistemic Freedom and Education.Geoffrey Hinchliffe - 2018 - Ethics and Education 13 (2):191-207.
    First of all, I define the concept of epistemic freedom in the light of the changing nature of educational practice that prioritise over-prescriptive conceptions of learning. I defend the ‘reality’ of this freedom against possible determinist-related criticisms. I do this by stressing the concept of agency as characterised by ‘becoming’. I also discuss briefly some of the technical literature on the subject. I then move on to discuss Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and Foucault’s idea of ‘productive power’: I argue for (...)
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  • A Critique of Vihvelin’s Three-Fold Classification.Kristin Mickelson - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):85-99.
    In this essay, I argue for the rejection of Vihvelin's ‘Three-fold Classification’ , a nonstandard taxonomy of free-will compatibilism, incompatibilism, and impossibilism. Vihvelin is right that the standard taxonomy of these views is inadequate, and that a new taxonomy is needed to clarify the free-will debate. Significantly, Vihvelin notes that the standard formal definition of ‘incompatibilism’ does not capture the historically popular view that deterministic laws pose a threat to free will. Vihvelin's proposed solution is to redefine ‘incompatibilism.’ However, Vihvelin's (...)
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  • Basic Desert of Reactive Emotions.Zac Cogley - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (2):165-177.
    In this paper, I explore the idea that someone can deserve resentment or other reactive emotions for what she does by attention to three psychological functions of such emotions – appraisal, communication, and sanction – that I argue ground claims of their desert. I argue that attention to these functions helps to elucidate the moral aims of reactive emotions and to distinguish the distinct claims of desert, as opposed to other moral considerations.
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  • Free Will and Luck: Reply to Critics.Alfred R. Mele - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):153 – 155.
    Mele's ultimate purpose in this book is to help readers think more clearly about free will. He identifies and makes vivid the most important conceptual obstacles to justified belief in the existence of free will and meets them head on. Mele clarifies the central issues in the philosophical debate about free will and moral responsibility, criticizes various influential contemporary theories about free will, and develops two overlapping conceptions of free will--one for readers who are convinced that free will is incompatible (...)
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  • Whose Argumentative Burden, Which Incompatibilist Arguments?—Getting the Dialectic Right.Michael McKenna - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):429-443.
    Kadri Vihvelin has recently argued that between compatibilists and incompatibilists, the incompatibilists have a greater dialectical burden than compatibilists. According to her, both must show that free will is possible, but beyond this the incompatibilists must also show that no deterministic worlds are free will worlds. Thus, according to Vihvelin, so long as it is established that free will is possible, all the compatibilist must do is show that the incompatibilists' arguments are ineffective. I resist Vihvelin's assessment of the dialectical (...)
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  • Some Theses on Desert.Randolph Clarke - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (2):153-64.
    Consider the idea that suffering of some specific kind is deserved by those who are guilty of moral wrongdoing. Feeling guilty is a prime example. It might be said that it is noninstrumentally good that one who is guilty feel guilty (at the right time and to the right degree), or that feeling guilty (at the right time and to the right degree) is apt or fitting for one who is guilty. Each of these claims constitutes an interesting thesis about (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility and Foundationalism.Stephen Kershnar - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (2):381-402.
    If an individual is morally responsible, then there is a responsibility-foundation that makes him morally responsible, but there is no responsibility-foundation that makes him responsible. This rested on the notion that if there were a responsibility-foundation, it would be either an ungrounded choice or an ungrounded character state and that neither can serve as the foundation. The paper then considered three types of objections. First, moral responsibility does not require a responsibility-foundation. Second, a character state can serve as the foundation. (...)
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  • Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    Mele's ultimate purpose in this book is to help readers think more clearly about free will. He identifies and makes vivid the most important conceptual obstacles to justified belief in the existence of free will and meets them head on. Mele clarifies the central issues in the philosophical debate about free will and moral responsibility, criticizes various influential contemporary theories about free will, and develops two overlapping conceptions of free will--one for readers who are convinced that free will is incompatible (...)
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  • How to Solve Nagel's Paradox About Moral Luck and Responsibility.Fernando Rudy Hiller - 2016 - Manuscrito 39 (1):5-32.
    In this paper I defend a solution to the moral luck problem based on what I call "a fair opportunity account of control." I focus on Thomas Nagel's claim that moral luck reveals a paradox, and argue that the apparent paradox emerges only because he assumes that attributions of responsibility require agents to have total control over their actions. I argue that a more modest understanding of what it takes for someone to be a responsible agent-i.e., being capable of doing (...)
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  • The Physiognomy of Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Neal A. Tognazzini - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):381-417.
    Our aim in this paper is to put the concept of moral responsibility under a microscope. At the lowest level of magnification, it appears unified. But Gary Watson has taught us that if we zoom in, we will find that moral responsibility has two faces: attributability and accountability. Or, to describe the two faces in different terms, there is a difference between being responsible and holding responsible. It is one thing to talk about the connection the agent has with her (...)
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  • The Ethical Advantages of Free Will Subjectivism.Richard Double - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (2):411-422.
    Adopting meta-level Free Will Subjectivism is one among several ways to maintain that persons never experience moral freedom in their choices. The other ways of arguing against moral freedom I consider are presented by Saul Smilansky, Ted Honderich, Bruce Waller, Galen Strawson, and Derk Pereboom. In this paper, without arguing for the acceptance of free will subjectivism, I argue that subjectivism has some moral and theoretical advantages over its kindred theories.
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  • Moral Responsibility and the Continuation Problem.Alfred R. Mele - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):237-255.
    Typical incompatibilists about moral responsibility and determinism contend that being basically morally responsible for a decision one makes requires that, if that decision has proximal causes, it is not deterministically caused by them. This article develops a problem for this contention that resembles what is sometimes called the problem of present (or cross-world) luck. However, the problem makes no reference to luck nor to contrastive explanation. This article also develops a solution.
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  • The Zygote Argument is Invalid: Now What?Kristin Mickelson - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):2911-2929.
    Alfred Mele’s original Zygote Argument is invalid. At most, its premises entail the negative thesis that free action is incompossible with deterministic laws, but its conclusion asserts the positive thesis that deterministic laws preclude free action. The original, explanatory conclusion of the Zygote Argument can be defended only by supplementing the Zygote Argument with a best-explanation argument that identifies deterministic laws as menacing. Arguably, though, the best explanation for the manipulation victim’s lack of freedom and responsibility is his constitutive luck, (...)
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  • Free Will and Moral Responsibility: The Trap, the Appreciation of Agency, and the Bubble. [REVIEW]Saul Smilansky - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (2):211-239.
    In Part I, I reflect in some detail upon the free will problem and about the way its understanding has radically changed. First I outline the four questions that go into making the free will problem. Second, I consider four paradigmatic shifts that have occurred in our understanding of this problem. Then I go on to reflect upon this complex and multi-level situation. In Part II of this essay, I explore the major alternative positions, and defend my views, in new (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility as Guiltworthiness.A. P. Duggan - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (2):291-309.
    It is often alleged that an agent is morally responsible in a liability sense for a transgression just in case s/he deserves a negative interpersonal response for that transgression, blaming responses such as resentment and indignation being paradigms. Aside from a few exceptions, guilt is cited in recent discussions of moral responsibility, if at all, as merely an effect of being blamed, or as a reliable indicator of moral responsibility, but not itself an explanation of moral responsibility. In this paper, (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility and Agents' Histories.Alfred Mele - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (2):161 - 181.
    To what extent should an analysis of an agent’s being morally responsible for an action that he performed—especially a compatibilist analysis of this—be sensitive to the agent’s history? In this article, I give the issue a clearer focus than it tends to have in the literature, I lay some groundwork for an attempt to answer the question, and I motivate a partial but detailed answer.
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  • Moral Responsibility—What is All the Fuss About?Kenton Machina - 2007 - Acta Analytica 22 (1):29-47.
    Examination of several accounts regarding the nature of moral responsibility allows the extraction of a conceptual core common to all of them. Relying on that core conception of moral responsibility, the paper explores what human life without moral responsibility would be like. That exploration establishes that many robust forms of human relationship and nonmoral normativity could continue, absent moral responsibility, even if moral responsibility were abandoned on incompatibilist grounds. Much more importantly, it also establishes, contra Waller and Pereboom, that only (...)
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  • Concerning the Resilience of Galen Strawson’s Basic Argument.Michael Anthony Istvan - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (3):399-420.
    Against its prominent compatiblist and libertarian opponents, I defend Galen Strawson’s Basic Argument for the impossibility of moral responsibility. Against John Martin Fischer, I argue that the Basic Argument does not rely on the premise that an agent can be responsible for an action only if he is responsible for every factor contributing to that action. Against Alfred Mele and Randolph Clarke, I argue that it is absurd to believe that an agent can be responsible for an action when no (...)
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  • Agent Causation and the Alleged Impossibility of Rational Free Action.Chris Tucker - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (1):17 - 27.
    Galen Strawson has claimed that "the impossibility of free will and ultimate moral responsibility can be proved with complete certainty." Strawson, I take it, thinks that this conclusion can be established by one argument which he has developed. In this argument, he claims that rational free actions would require an infinite regress of rational choices, which is, of course, impossible for human beings. In my paper, I argue that agent causation theorists need not be worried by Strawson's argument. For agent (...)
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  • Constitutive Moral Luck and Strawson's Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Robert J. Hartman - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (2):165-183.
    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 (...)
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  • Do the Results of Divine Actions Have Preceding Causes?Daniel von Wachter - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 3 (2):347-367.
    If God brings about an event in the universe, does it have a preceding cause? For example, if the universe began with the Big Bang and if God brought it about, did the Big Bang then have a preceding cause? The standard answer is: yes, it was caused by a divine willing. I propose an alternative view: God’s actions, unlike human actions, are not initiated by willings, undertakings, or volitions, but God brings about the intended event directly. Presenting a solution (...)
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  • The Counterfactual Theory of Free Will: A Genuinely Deterministic Form of Soft Determinism.Rick Repetti - 2010 - Saarbrücken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.
    I argue for a soft compatibilist theory of free will, i.e., such that free will is compatible with both determinism and indeterminism, directly opposite hard incompatibilism, which holds free will incompatible both with determinism and indeterminism. My intuitions in this book are primarily based on an analysis of meditation, but my arguments are highly syncretic, deriving from many fields, including behaviorism, psychology, conditioning and deconditioning theory, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, simulation theory, etc. I offer a causal/functional analysis of (...)
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  • Meditation and Mental Freedom: A Buddhist Theory of Free Will.Rick Repetti - 2010 - Journal of Buddhist Ethics 17:166-212.
    I argue for a possible Buddhist theory of free will that combines Frankfurt's hierarchical analysis of meta-volitional/volitional accord with elements of the Buddhist eightfold path that prescribe that Buddhist aspirants cultivate meta-volitional wills that promote the mental freedom that culminates in enlightenment, as well as a causal/functional analysis of how Buddhist meditative methodology not only plausibly makes that possible, but in ways that may be applied to undermine Galen Strawson's impossibility argument, along with most of the other major arguments for (...)
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  • Earlier Buddhist Theories of Free Will: Compatibilism.Rick Repetti - 2010 - Journal of Buddhist Ethics 17:279-310.
    A critical review of the first wave of publications on Buddhism and free will between the 1960s and 1980s.
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  • The Rietdijk-Putnam Argument.Elton Martins Marques - 2017 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 21 (3):391-409.
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  • Moral Responsibility Beyond Classical Compatibilist and Incompatibilist Accounts.Sofia Bonicalzi - 2013 - Prolegomena 12 (1):21-41.
    The concept of “moral responsibility” has almost always been defined in relation to a certain idea of metaphysical freedom and to a conception of the physical world. So, classically, for indeterminist thinkers, human beings are free and therefore responsible, if their choices are not defined by a previous state of the world but derive from an autonomous selection among a set of alternatives. Differently, for the majority of determinist philosophers , the only form of freedom we need has to be (...)
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  • Nietzsche and Amor Fati.Béatrice Han-Pile - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):224-261.
    Abstract: This paper identifies two central paradoxes threatening the notion of amor fati [love of fate]: it requires us to love a potentially repellent object (as fate entails significant negativity for us) and this, in the knowledge that our love will not modify our fate. Thus such love may seem impossible or pointless. I analyse the distinction between two different sorts of love (eros and agape) and the type of valuation they involve (in the first case, the object is loved (...)
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  • Is Ultimate Moral Responsibility Metaphysically Impossible? A Bergsonian Critique of Galen Strawson's Argument.Mark Ian Thomas Robson - 2017 - Philosophy 92 (4):519-538.
    What I want to do in this essay is examine a notorious argument put forward by Galen Strawson. He advocates what he describes as an a priori argument against the possibility of ultimate (moral) responsibility. There have been many attempts at answering Strawson, but whether they have been successful is debatable. I attempt to employ Henri Bergson's approach to the free will debate and assess whether what he says has any purchase in terms of criticism of Strawson's position. I conclude (...)
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  • Essays in Philosophical Moral Psychology.Antti Kauppinen - 2008 - Dissertation, University of Helsinki
    This 183-page introductory part of my dissertation is an overview of some key debates in philosophical moral psychology and its methodology.
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  • Free Will and Education.Johannes Giesinger - 2010 - Philosophy of Education 44 (4):515-528.
    It is commonly assumed that to educate means to control or guide a person's acting and development. On the other hand, it is often presupposed that the addressees of education must be seen as being endowed with free will. The question raised in this paper is whether these two assumptions are compatible. It might seem that if the learner is free in her will, she cannot be educated; however, if she is successfully educated, then it is doubtful whether she can (...)
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  • Skepticism About Persons.John M. Doris - 2009 - Philosophical Issues 19 (1):57-91.
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  • Evolved, NotCausa Sui: An Embodiment Critique of Freedom and Responsibility.Chelsea Haramia - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 6 (2):14-15.
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  • Free Will and Ultimate Explanation.Boris Kment - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):114-130.
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  • Improving the Metaphysical Argument Against Free Will.Noel Hendrickson - 2007 - Philosophical Papers 36 (2):271-294.
    Galen Strawson and Saul Smilansky have offered a well-known argument that free will does not exist because the control involved is so robust that it would require influence over an infinite series of prior decisions. (Strawson 1986, 1994, 2002, Smilansky 2000, 2002) Unfortunately, while this metaphysical argument has attracted widespread attention, it has garnered few adherents. Thus, in order to improve the metaphysical argument against free will, I offer a new interpretation of the argument, its fundamental principle, and its relationship (...)
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  • On an Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Randolph Clarke - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):13-24.
    Galen Strawson has published several versions of an argument to the effect that moral responsibility is impossible, whether determinism is true or not. Few philosophers have been persuaded by the argument, which Strawson remarks is often dismissed “as wrong, or irrelevant, or fatuous, or too rapid, or an expression of metaphysical megalomania.” I offer here a two-part explanation of why Strawson’s argument has impressed so few. First, as he usually states it, the argument is lacking at least one key premise. (...)
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  • Immigration and Self-Determination.Bas van der Vossen - 2015 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (3):270-290.
    This article asks whether states have a right to close their borders because of their right to self-determination, as proposed recently by Christopher Wellman, Michael Walzer, and others. It asks the fundamental question whether self-determination can, in even its most unrestricted form, support the exclusion of immigrants. I argue that the answer is no. To show this, I construct three different ways in which one might use the idea of self-determination to justify immigration restrictions and show that each of these (...)
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  • Revisionism, Libertarianism, and Naturalistic Plausibility.Michael Robinson - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2651-2658.
    In his book, Building Better Beings, Manuel Vargas argues that we should reject libertarianism, on the grounds that it is naturalistically implausible, and embrace revisionism rather than eliminativism, on the grounds that the former is a shorter departure from ordinary thinking about moral responsibility. I argue that Vargas fails to adequately appreciate the extent to which ordinary judgments about moral responsibility involve ascriptions of basic desert as well as the centrality of basic desert in the ordinary conception of moral responsibility. (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility and Agents’ Histories.Alfred Mele - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (2):161-181.
    To what extent should an analysis of an agent’s being morally responsible for an action that he performed—especially a compatibilist analysis of this—be sensitive to the agent’s history? In this article, I give the issue a clearer focus than it tends to have in the literature, I lay some groundwork for an attempt to answer the question, and I motivate a partial but detailed answer.
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