Chapter

The impossibility of ultimate responsibility?

GALEN STRAWSON

in Free Will and Modern Science

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264898
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754074 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264898.003.0009

Series: British Academy Original Paperbacks

The impossibility of ultimate responsibility?

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This chapter argues that the mere fact that a decision has not been fully caused by previous events suggests that these are simply random events for which a person cannot be properly held morally responsible. Whatever the laws governing the formations of our decisions, it is simply not possible that a person can be morally responsible for their actions. For either they are caused to do what they do by events outside their control, or their actions are the result of random processes.

Keywords: decision; random events; moral responsibility

Chapter.  5968 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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