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Freedom Within Reason

Ethics 102 (2):368-389 (1990)

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  1. Autonomy, Adaptation, and Rationality - a Critical Discussion of Jon Elster's Concept of "Sour Grapes", Part I.Tore Sandven - 1999 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 29 (1):3-31.
    This article argues against Jon Elster's contention that there is a fundamental incompatibility between, on the one hand, autonomy and rationality, and, on the other hand, adaptation to the conditions of one's existence in the sense that one's desires or preferences are adjusted to what it is possible to achieve. It is claimed that Elster's conclusions are premised on a defective conception of human faculties and powers, including a defective conception of human experience and rationality. Moreover, the claim is made (...)
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  • Formal and Effective Autonomy in Healthcare.A. P. Schwab - 2006 - Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (10):575-579.
    This essay lays the groundwork for a novel conception of autonomy that may be called “effective autonomy”—a conception designed to be genuinely action guiding in bioethics. As empirical psychology research on the heuristics and biases approach shows, decision making commonly fails to correspond to people’s desires because of the biases arising from bounded cognition. People who are classified as autonomous on contemporary philosophical accounts may fail to be effectively autonomous because their decisions are uncoupled from their autonomous desires. Accordingly, continuing (...)
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  • Thinking Outside the (Traditional) Boxes of Moral Luck.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):7-23.
    Midwest Studies In Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Making Do: Troubling Stoic Tendencies in an Otherwise Compelling Theory of Autonomy.David Zimmerman - 2000 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):25-53.
    Nothing can kill a promising research program in ethics more quickly than a plausible argument to the effect that it is committed to a morally repellent consequence. It is especially troubling when a theory one favors is jeopardized in this way. I have this worry about Harry Frankfurt's theory of free will, autonomous agency and moral responsibility, for there is a very plausible argument to the effect that aspects of his view commit him to a version of the late Stoic (...)
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  • Moral Luck and the Unfairness of Morality.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3179-3197.
    Moral luck occurs when factors beyond an agent’s control positively affect how much praise or blame she deserves. Kinds of moral luck are differentiated by the source of lack of control such as the results of her actions, the circumstances in which she finds herself, and the way in which she is constituted. Many philosophers accept the existence of some of these kinds of moral luck but not others, because, in their view, the existence of only some of them would (...)
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  • Thrasymachus’ Unerring Skill and the Arguments of Republic 1.Tamer Nawar - 2018 - Phronesis 63 (4):359-391.
    In defending the view that justice is the advantage of the stronger, Thrasymachus puzzlingly claims that rulers never err and that any practitioner of a skill or expertise (τέχνη) is infallible. In what follows, Socrates offers a number of arguments directed against Thrasymachus’ views concerning the nature of skill, ruling, and justice. Commentators typically take a dim view of both Thrasymachus’ claims about skill (which are dismissed as an ungrounded and purely ad hoc response to Socrates’ initial criticisms) and Socrates’ (...)
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  • Reasonable Expectations, Moral Responsibility, and Empirical Data.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2020 - Philosophical Studies (10):2945-2968.
    Many philosophers think that a necessary condition on moral blameworthiness is that the wrongdoer can reasonably be expected to avoid the action for which she is blamed. Those who think so assume as a matter of course that the expectations at issue here are normative expectations that contrast with the non-normative or predictive expectations we form concerning the probable conduct of others, and they believe, or at least assume, that there is a clear-cut distinction between the two. In this paper (...)
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  • Authenticity and Normative Authority: Addressing the Agency Dilemma with Values of One’s Own.Kathryn MacKay - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.
    Journal of Social Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Three Recent Frankfurt Cases.Robert Lockie - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (4):1005-1032.
    Three recent ‘state of the art’ Frankfurt cases are responded to: Widerker’s Brain-Malfunction-W case and Pereboom’s Tax Evasion cases (2 & 3). These cases are intended by their authors to resurrect the neo-Frankfurt project of overturning the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) in the teeth of the widespread acceptance of some combination of the WKG (Widerker-Kane-Ginet) dilemma, the Flicker of Freedom strategy and the revised PAP response (‘Principle of Alternative Blame’, ‘Principle of Alternative Expectations’). The three neo-Frankfurt cases of Pereboom (...)
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  • Ability and Volitional Incapacity.Nicholas Southwood & Pablo Gilabert - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (3):1-8.
    The conditional analysis of ability faces familiar counterexamples involving cases of volitional incapacity. An interesting response to the problem of volitional incapacity is to try to explain away the responses elicited by such counterexamples by distinguishing between what we are able to do and what we are able to bring ourselves to do. We argue that this error-theoretic response fails. Either it succeeds in solving the problem of volitional incapacity at the cost of making the conditional analysis vulnerable to obvious (...)
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  • “Images” of the Female and of the Self: Two Recent Interpretations by Women Authors.Flo Leibowitz - 2003 - Hypatia 18 (4):283-291.
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  • Does God Have the Moral Standing to Blame?Patrick Todd - 2018 - Faith and Philosophy 35 (1):33-55.
    In this paper, I introduce a problem to the philosophy of religion – the problem of divine moral standing – and explain how this problem is distinct from (albeit related to) the more familiar problem of evil (with which it is often conflated). In short, the problem is this: in virtue of how God would be (or, on some given conception, is) “involved in” our actions, how is it that God has the moral standing to blame us for performing those (...)
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  • The Agential Perspective: A Hard-Line Reply to the Four-Case Manipulation Argument.Sofia Jeppsson - 2019 - Philosophical Studies:1-17.
    One of the most influential arguments against compatibilism is Derk Pereboom’s four-case manipulation argument. Professor Plum, the main character of the thought experiment, is manipulated into doing what he does; he therefore supposedly lacks moral responsibility for his action. Since he is arguably analogous to an ordinary agent under determinism, Pereboom concludes that ordinary determined agents lack moral responsibility as well. I offer a hard-line reply to this argument, that is, a reply which denies that this kind of manipulation is (...)
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  • Multiple Selves and Culpability.Ishtiyaque Haji - 1997 - Legal Theory 3 (3):249-272.
    Challenging problems for moral and legal culpability, as Jennifer Radden has impressively brought to our attention, are generated when people suffering from dissociative-identity disorder commit various transgressions. In the type of case of interest in this paper, “Self2” of a two-self multiple is unaware that “Self1” has committed a crime and has played no role in Self1's commission of the crime. This case generates, among others, the following pressing problems. Is Self2 morally to blame for Self1's deed, and is the (...)
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  • Responsibility Without Identity.David Shoemaker - 2012 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 18 (1):109-132.
    Many people believe that for someone to now be responsible for some past action, the agent of that action and the responsible agent now must be one and the same person. In other words, many people that moral responsibility presupposes numerical personal identity. In this paper, I show why this platitude is false. I then suggest an account of what actual metaphysical relationship moral responsibility presupposes instead.
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  • Traditional Compatibilism Reformulated and Defended.Markus E. Schlosser - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Research 42:277-300.
    Traditional compatibilism about free will is widely considered to be untenable. In particular, the conditional analysis of the ability to do otherwise appears to be subject to clear counterexamples. I will propose a new version of traditional compatibilism that provides a conditional account of both the ability to do otherwise and the ability to choose to do otherwise, and I will argue that this view withstands the standard objections to traditional compatibilism. For this, I will assume with incompatibilists that the (...)
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  • Buddhist Meditation and the Possibility of Freedom.Rick Repetti - 2016 - Science, Religion and Culture 2 (2):81-98.
    I argue that if the claims Buddhist philosophy makes about meditation virtuosos are plausible, then Buddhism may rebut most of the strongest arguments for free will skepticism found in Western analytic philosophy, including the hard incompatiblist's argument (which combines the arguments for hard determinism, such as the consequence argument, with those for hard indeterminism, such as the randomness argument), Pereboom's manipulation argument, and Galen Strawson's impossibility argument. The main idea is that the meditation virtuoso can cultivate a level of mind (...)
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  • Everyone Thinks That an Ability to Do Otherwise is Necessary for Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2091-2107.
    Seemingly one of the most prominent issues that divide theorists about free will and moral responsibility concerns whether the ability to do otherwise is necessary for freedom and responsibility. I defend two claims in this paper. First, that this appearance is illusory: everyone thinks an ability to do otherwise is necessary for freedom and responsibility. The central issue is not whether the ability to do otherwise is necessary for freedom and responsibility but which abilities to do otherwise are necessary. Second, (...)
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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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  • The Metaphysical Presuppositions of Moral Responsibility.Helen Steward - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (2):241-271.
    The paper attempts to explicate and justify the position I call `Agency Incompatibilism'- that is to say, the view that agency itself is incompatible with determinism. The most important part of this task is the characterisation of the conception of agency on which the position depends; for unless this is understood, the rationale for the position is likely to be missed. The paper accordingly proceeds by setting out the orthodox philosophical position concerning what it takes for agency to exist, before (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility Without General Ability.Taylor W. Cyr & Philip Swenson - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):22-40.
    It is widely thought that, to be morally responsible for some action or omission, an agent must have had, at the very least, the general ability to do otherwise. As we argue, however, there are counterexamples to the claim that moral responsibility requires the general ability to do otherwise. We present several cases in which agents lack the general ability to do otherwise and yet are intuitively morally responsible for what they do, and we argue that such cases raise problems (...)
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  • Contrato, Virtudes E o Problema da Punição.Denis Coitinho Silveira - 2016 - Dissertatio 43:11-40.
    O objetivo desse artigo é investigar o problema da justificação da punição, a saber, como é possível justificar normativamente o dano intencional retributivo reprobatório infligido pelo Estado aos ofensores? Nossa estratégia será tentar conectar a função corretiva e os eventos de remorso, arrependimento e perdão do âmbito privado da punição com o domínio público, de forma a questionar a correção normativa da punição legal. Posteriormente, veremos como o contratualismo pode justificar a instituição da punição de uma forma mais eficiente e (...)
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  • The Manipulation Argument, At the Very Least, Undermines Classical Compatibilism.Yishai Cohen - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (2):291-307.
    The compatibility of determinism and the ability to do otherwise has been implicitly assumed by many to be irrelevant to the viability of compatibilist responses to the manipulation argument for incompatibilism. I argue that this assumption is mistaken. The manipulation argument may be unsound. But even so, the manipulation argument, at the very least, undermines classical compatibilism, the view that free will requires the ability to do otherwise, and having that ability is compatible with determinism. This is because classical compatibilism, (...)
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  • Conscious Will, Reason-Responsiveness, and Moral Responsibility.Markus E. Schlosser - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (3):205-232.
    Empirical evidence challenges many of the assumptions that underlie traditional philosophical and commonsense conceptions of human agency. It has been suggested that this evidence threatens also to undermine free will and moral responsibility. In this paper, I will focus on the purported threat to moral responsibility. The evidence challenges assumptions concerning the ability to exercise conscious control and to act for reasons. This raises an apparent challenge to moral responsibility as these abilities appear to be necessary for morally responsible agency. (...)
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  • What Happens When Someone Acts?J. David Velleman - 1992 - Mind 101 (403):461-481.
    What happens when someone acts? A familiar answer goes like this. There is something that the agent wants, and there is an action that he believes conducive to its attainment. His desire for the end, and his belief in the action as a means, justify taking the action, and they jointly cause an intention to take it, which in turn causes the corresponding movements of the agent's body. I think that the standard story is flawed in several respects. The flaw (...)
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  • Disputing Autonomy: Second-Order Desires and the Dynamics of Ascribing Autonomy.Joel Anderson - 2008 - SATS 9 (1):7-26.
    In this paper, I examine two versions of the so-called “hierarchical” approach to personal autonomy, based on the notion of “second-order desires”. My primary concern will be with the question of whether these approaches provide an adequate basis for understanding the dynamics of autonomy-ascription. I begin by distinguishing two versions of the hierarchical approach, each representing a different response to the oft-discussed “regress” objection. I then argue that both “structural hierarchicalism” (e.g., Frankfurt, Bratman) and “procedural hierarchicalism” (e.g., Dworkin, Christman, Mele) (...)
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  • Forget the Folk: Moral Responsibility Preservation Motives and Other Conditions for Compatibilism.Cory J. Clark, Bo M. Winegard & Roy F. Baumeister - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
    For years, experimental philosophers have attempted to discern whether laypeople find free will compatible with a scientifically deterministic understanding of the universe, yet no consensus has emerged. The present work provides one potential explanation for these discrepant findings: People are strongly motivated to preserve free will and moral responsibility, and thus do not have stable, logically rigorous notions of free will. Seven studies support this hypothesis by demonstrating that a variety of logically irrelevant features influence compatibilist judgments. In Study 1, (...)
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  • Consciousness, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility: Taking the Folk Seriously.Joshua Shepherd - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (7):929-946.
    In this paper, I offer evidence that folk views of free will and moral responsibility accord a central place to consciousness. In sections 2 and 3, I contrast action production via conscious states and processes with action in concordance with an agent's long-standing and endorsed motivations, values, and character traits. Results indicate that conscious action production is considered much more important for free will than is concordance with motivations, values, and character traits. In section 4, I contrast the absence of (...)
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  • Unconscious Motives and Actions – Agency, Freedom and Responsibility.Christoph Lumer - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
    According to many criteria, agency, intentionality, responsibility and freedom of decision, require conscious decisions. Freud already assumed that many of our decisions are influenced by dynamically unconscious motives or that we even perform unconscious actions based on completely unconscious considerations. Such actions might not be intentional, and perhaps not even actions in the narrow sense, we would not be responsible for them and freedom of decision would be missing. Recent psychological and neurophysiological research has added to this a number of (...)
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  • The Consequence Argument and the Mind Argument.Dana Nelkin - 2001 - Analysis 61 (2):107-115.
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  • Strategies for Free Will Compatibilists.J. O'Leary-Hawthorne & P. Pettit - 1996 - Analysis 56 (4):191-201.
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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Blameworthy.Neil Levy - 2005 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 1 (2):1-16.
    Accounts of moral responsibility can be divided into those that claim that attributability of an act, omission, or attitude to an agent is sufficient for responsibility for it, and those which hold that responsibility depends crucially on choice. I argue that accounts of the first, attributionist, kind fail to make room for the relatively stringent epistemic conditions upon moral responsibility, and that therefore an account of the second, volitionist, kind ought to be preferred. I examine the various arguments advanced on (...)
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  • Insanity, Deep Selves, and Moral Responsibility: The Case of JoJo.David Faraci & David Shoemaker - 2010 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3): 319-332.
    Susan Wolf objects to the Real Self View (RSV) of moral responsibility that it is insufficient, that even if one’s actions are expressions of one’s deepest or “real” self, one might still not be morally responsible for one’s actions. As a counterexample to the RSV, Wolf offers the case of JoJo, the son of a dictator, who endorses his father’s (evil) values, but who is insane and is thus not responsible for his actions. Wolf’s data for this conclusion derives from (...)
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  • The BCN Challenge to Compatibilist Free Will and Personal Responsibility.Maureen Sie & Arno Wouters - 2010 - Neuroethics 3 (2):121-133.
    Many philosophers ignore developments in the behavioral, cognitive, and neurosciences that purport to challenge our ideas of free will and responsibility. The reason for this is that the challenge is often framed as a denial of the idea that we are able to act differently than we do. However, most philosophers think that the ability to do otherwise is irrelevant to responsibility and free will. Rather it is our ability to act for reasons that is crucial. We argue that the (...)
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  • Holding Others Responsible.Coleen Macnamara - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (1):81-102.
    Theorists have spent considerable time discussing the concept of responsibility. Their discussions, however, have generally focused on the question of who counts as responsible, and for what. But as Gary Watson has noted, “Responsibility is a triadic relationship: an individual (or group) is responsible to others for something” (Watson Agency and answerability: selected essays, 2004 , p. 7). Thus, theorizing about responsibility ought to involve theorizing not just about the actor and her conduct, but also about those the actor is (...)
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  • Surveying Freedom: Folk Intuitions About Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Jason Turner - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):561-584.
    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 (...)
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  • Does Situationism Threaten Free Will and Moral Responsibility?Michael McKenna & Brandon Warmke - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (6):698-733.
    The situationist movement in social psychology has caused a considerable stir in philosophy. Much of this was prompted by the work of Gilbert Harman and John Doris. Both contended that familiar philosophical assumptions about the role of character in the explanation of action were not supported by experimental results. Most of the ensuing philosophical controversy has focused upon issues related to moral psychology and ethical theory. More recently, the influence of situationism has also given rise to questions regarding free will (...)
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  • Good Selves, True Selves: Moral Ignorance, Responsibility, And The Presumption Of Goodness.David Faraci & David Shoemaker - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):606-622.
    According to the Good True Self (GTS) theory, if an action is deemed good, its psychological source is typically viewed as more reflective of its agent’s true self, of who the agent really is ‘deep down inside’; if the action is deemed bad, its psychological source is typically viewed as more external to its agent’s true self. In previous work, we discovered a related asymmetry in judgments of blame- and praiseworthiness with respect to the mitigating effect of moral ignorance via (...)
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  • Learning to Act.Jan Bransen - 2016 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 3 (1):11-35.
    In this paper I argue that to understand minded agency – the capacity we typically find instantiated in instances of human behaviour that could sensibly be questioned by asking “What did you do?” – one needs to understand childhood, i.e. the trajectory of learning to act. I discuss two different types of trajectory, both of which seem to take place during childhood and both of which might be considered crucial to learning to act: a growth of bodily control (GBC) and (...)
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  • In Defense of Doxastic Blame.Lindsay Rettler - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2205-2226.
    In this paper I articulate a view of doxastic control that helps defend the legitimacy of our practice of blaming people for their beliefs. I distinguish between three types of doxastic control: intention-based, reason-based, and influence-based. First I argue that, although we lack direct intention-based control over our beliefs, such control is not necessary for legitimate doxastic blame. Second, I suggest that we distinguish two types of reason-responsiveness: sensitivity to reasons and appreciation of reasons. I argue that while both capacities (...)
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  • The Hard Problem of Responsibility.Victoria McGeer & Philip Pettit - 2013 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Vol. 1. Oxford University Press.
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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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  • Emotion, Deliberation, and the Skill Model of Virtuous Agency.Charlie Kurth - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (3):299-317.
    A recent skeptical challenge denies deliberation is essential to virtuous agency: what looks like genuine deliberation is just a post hoc rationalization of a decision already made by automatic mechanisms (Haidt 2001; Doris 2015). Annas’s account of virtue seems well-equipped to respond: by modeling virtue on skills, she can agree that virtuous actions are deliberation-free while insisting that their development requires significant thought. But Annas’s proposal is flawed: it over-intellectualizes deliberation’s developmental role and under-intellectualizes its significance once virtue is acquired. (...)
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  • Regulation Enables: Corporate Agency and Practices of Responsibility.Garrath Williams - 2019 - Journal of Business Ethics 154 (4):989-1002.
    Both advocates of corporate regulation and its opponents tend to depict regulation as restrictive—a policy option that limits freedom in the name of welfare or other social goods. Against this framing, I suggest we can understand regulation in enabling terms. If well designed and properly enforced, regulation enables companies to operate in ways that are acceptable to society as a whole. This paper argues for this enabling character by considering some wider questions about responsibility and the sharing of responsibility. Agents (...)
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  • Is Incompatibilism Intuitive?Jason Turner, Eddy Nahmias, Stephen Morris & Thomas Nadelhoffer - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):28-53.
    Incompatibilists believe free will is impossible if determinism is true, and they often claim that this view is supported by ordinary intuitions. We challenge the claim that incompatibilism is intuitive to most laypersons and discuss the significance of this challenge to the free will debate. After explaining why incompatibilists should want their view to accord with pre theoretical intuitions. we suggest that determining whether incompatibilism is infact intuitive calls for empirical testing. We then present the results of our studies, which (...)
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  • Free Will and Agency at its Best.Gideon Yaffe - 2000 - Philosopical Perspectives 14 (s14):203-230.
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  • Agency in Social Context.John Lawless - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (4):471-498.
    Many political philosophers argue that interference threatens a person’s agency. And they cast political freedom in opposition to interpersonal threats to agency, as non-interference. I argue that this approach relies on an inapt model of agency, crucial aspects of which emerge from our relationships with other people. Such relationships involve complex patterns of vulnerability and subjection, essential to our constitution as particular kinds of agents: as owners of property, as members of families, and as participants in a market for labor. (...)
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  • Corporate Responsibility and Judgment Aggregation.Frank Hindriks - 2009 - Economics and Philosophy 25 (2):161-177.
    Paradoxical results concerning judgment aggregation have recently been invoked to defend the thesis that a corporate agent can be morally responsible for a decision without any of its individual members bearing such responsibility. I contend that the arguments offered for this irreducibility thesis are inconclusive. They do not pay enough attention to how we evaluate individual moral responsibility, in particular not to the role that a flawed assessment of the normative reasons that bear on the issue to be decided on (...)
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  • Traps and Gaps in Action Explanation: Theoretical Problems of a Psychology of Human Action.Werner Greve - 2001 - Psychological Review 108 (2):435-451.
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  • Colloquium 1.Christopher A. Dustin - 1993 - Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 9 (1):34-56.
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