Control, Attitudes, and Accountability

In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford studies in agency and responsibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2013)
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Abstract

It seems that we can be directly accountable for our reasons-responsive attitudes—e.g., our beliefs, desires, and intentions. Yet, we rarely, if ever, have volitional control over such attitudes, volitional control being the sort of control that we exert over our intentional actions. This presents a trilemma: (Horn 1) deny that we can be directly accountable for our reasons-responsive attitudes, (Horn 2) deny that φ’s being under our control is necessary for our being directly accountable for φ-ing, or (Horn 3) deny that the relevant sort of control is volitional control. This paper argues that we should take Horn 3.

Author's Profile

Douglas W. Portmore
Arizona State University

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