Incompatibilism and personal relationships: another look at strawson's objective attitude

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1):131-147 (2012)
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Abstract

In the context of his highly influential defence of compatibilism, P. F. Strawson 1962 introduced the terms "reactive attitude" and "objective attitude" to the free-will lexicon. He argued, in effect, that relinquishing such reactive attitudes as resentment and moral indignation isn't a real possibility for us, since doing so would commit us to exclusive objectivity, a stance incompatible with ordinary interpersonal relationships. While most commentators have challenged Strawson's link between personal relationships and the reactive attitudes, Tamler Sommers 2007 has taken up Strawson's claim that exclusive objectivity would preclude meaningful relationships. Here I set out a defence of this claim by identifying a kind of interpersonal caring that is plausibly both required for such relationships and excluded by the objective attitude. I then argue that this defence helps to support Strawson's more controversial claim about personal relationships and the reactive attitudes

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Seth Shabo
University of Delaware

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