Psychological Autonomy and Personal History

Alfred R. Mele

in Autonomous Agents

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780195150438
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199869091 | DOI:
 Psychological Autonomy and Personal History

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Some thought experiments that incompatibilists have designed to undermine particular compatibilist analyses of free action and free will should lead their opponents to investigate the possible bearing of agents’ histories on their freedom. This chapter develops several thought experiments of this kind and argues that they motivate a certain history‐sensitive compatibilist view of psychological autonomy. It is argued that two agents who are psychological twins at a time may, owing to differences in their histories, be such that one is autonomous and the other is not. Connections among autonomy, ability, moral responsibility, and authenticity are examined; compulsion is analyzed; and Susan Wolf's “Reason View” of moral responsibility is criticized.

Keywords: action; authenticity; autonomy; compatibilism; compulsion; free will; incompatibilism; moral responsibility; Susan Wolf

Chapter.  19053 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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