Determinism’s Impact on Normative Judgments

Ishtiyaque Haji

in Reason’s Debt to Freedom

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199899203
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949885 | DOI:
Determinism’s Impact on Normative Judgments

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The chapter argues for the following claims. First, if one is an incompatibilist who believes the alternatives that the truth of judgments of objective reasons presupposes are ones incompatible with determinism, then determinism precludes a significant slate of normative judgments. Second, from such an incompatibilist perspective, determinism threatens the rationality of a range of moral sentiments. Third, if one is a compatibilist who opts for the view that the truth of judgments of objective reasons presupposes one’s having alternatives that are compatible with determinism, then quite a few versions of semi-compatibilism are not sustainable. For instance, semi-compatibilism with respect to moral obligation—the thesis that although determinism may preclude free will, it does not preclude moral obligation because there is no requirement of alternative possibilities for moral obligation—is false.

Keywords: alternative possibilities; compatibilism; determinism; external reasons; incompatibilism; indeterminism

Chapter.  19626 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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