Consciousness, Free Will, Moral Responsibility

In Rocco Gennaro (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Consciousness. New York: Routledge. pp. 89-91 (2018)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
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 function must it play? Are agents morally responsible for actions and behaviors that are carried out automatically or without conscious control or guidance? Are they morally responsible for actions, judgments, and attitudes that are the result of implicit biases or situational features of their surroundings of which they are unaware? What about the actions of somnambulists or cases of extreme sleepwalking where consciousness is largely absent? Clarifying the relationship between consciousness and free will is imperative if we want to evaluate the various arguments for and against free will. For example, do compatibilist reasons- responsive and deep self accounts require consciousness? If so, are they threatened by recent developments in the behavior, cognitive, and neurosciences? What about libertarian accounts of free will? What powers, if any, do they impart to consciousness and are they consistent with our best scientific theories about the world? In this survey piece, I will outline and assess several distinct views on the relationship between consciousness and free will.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
First archival date: 2016-12-27
Latest version: 2 (2020-11-09)
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
884 ( #5,878 of 64,236 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
53 ( #14,328 of 64,236 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.