Concluding Thoughts

Dana Kay Nelkin

in Making Sense of Freedom and Responsibility

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608560
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729638 | DOI:
Concluding Thoughts

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This chapter shows how our commitments as rational agents fit with the rational abilities view developed earlier in the book. On the one hand, in showing that we are not committed to our being undetermined causes of our actions, a central motivation for a libertarian position is removed. On the other hand, in showing that we are committed to our being free agents in a sense related to responsibility, we have a challenge to the skeptic. Further, the particular nature of the commitment provides strong mutual support for the rational abilities view itself. The chapter then shows how the various arguments of the entire book come together to provide a coherent compatibilist answer to the skeptic that incorporates a welcome flexibility on central questions such as those regarding both deep metaphysical issues involving the nature of causation and those regarding the precise emotional abilities humans must have to be responsible agents.

Keywords: responsibility; rational abilities; compatibilism; free agents; reponsible agents; causation

Chapter.  3540 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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