Pessimists, Pollyannas, and the New Compatibilism

Paul Russell

in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780195178548
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Pessimists, Pollyannas, and the New Compatibilism


This article examines a number of contemporary compatibilist views on freedom and responsibility. The discussion is organized around themes from Daniel Dennett's influential compatibilist work, Elbow Room (1984), and in the light of these themes the article also considers other compatibilist views, including those of Paul Benson, Martha Klein, John Fischer and Mark Ravizza, Robert Audi, and Kevin Magill. Through these and other authors, the article discusses a variety of topics that have been of concern to contemporary compatibilists, such as control, reflexivity, responsiveness to reasons, “moral luck,” the place of character in moral evaluation, ultimacy, blameworthiness, and normative elements of freedom.

Keywords: freedom; responsibility; Daniel Dennett; control; reflexivity; moral luck; moral evaluation; utlimacy; blameworthiness

Article.  13095 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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