The incompatibilist, the could-have-acted-otherwise condition, and the U-condition

Martha Klein

in Determinism, Blameworthiness, and Deprivation

Published in print May 1990 | ISBN: 9780198248347
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681134 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

The incompatibilist, the could-have-acted-otherwise condition, and the U-condition

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The arguments in Chapter 2 established that there is not an independent C-condition for blameworthiness (that is a C-condition which must be fulfilled in addition to the M-condition). Where does this leave the incompatibilist? He has been described as someone who assumes that there is an independent C-condition and whose commitment to such a condition is what motivates his incompatibilism. This chapter argues that his incompatibilism has not just been motivated by the belief in a C-condition; it has also been fuelled by the belief in ‘a U-condition for blameworthiness’— the condition that an agent's morally reprehensible decision or choice should not be caused by factors for which he is not responsible. The chapter shows that the commitment to a U-condition for blameworthiness is enough to motivate the belief that determinism and moral responsibility are incompatible. But it also suggests that the incompatibilist might have mistaken his commitment to a U-condition for a commitment to an independent C-condition for blameworthiness.

Keywords: incompatibilist; C-condition; M-condition; blameworthiness; determinism; moral responsibility; U-condition

Chapter.  6505 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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