There seems to be a dilemma that has not been addressed much in the literature (a dilemma I have hinted at in the past) that concerns freedom and the deontic appraisals of moral obligation, right, and wrong. The dilemma arises when we combine the hard incompatibilist stance regarding the truth of two doctrines coupled with a wide-spread assumption about control. First, the hard incompatibilist stance on determinism; (HD) if determinism is true then we do not have control over any of our actions. Next, the hard incompatibilist stance regarding indeterminism; (IND) if indeterminism is true then we do not have control over any of our actions. Now if we assume that either determinism or indeterminism is true then it follows that we do not have control over our actions. But, if there is good reason to believe that we need “deontic-grounding control” for deontic evaluations to be justified (as I and others have argued), then it follows that none of our deontic evaluations are justified. One goal in this post is to defend the view that moral statuses such as rightness, wrongness, and obligatoriness require a specific species of control, “deontic-grounding control”
Let’s first consider an obligation. Following Ish Haji, if we assume, as Derk Pereboom and most others do that moral responsibility requires control: if one is morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for an action, one has responsibility-relevant control in performing it, then likewise we can think of OIC as the control principle for moral obligation, if one morally ought to do something, then one can do it. Put another way, if a person morally ought to do something, then one has the freedom to do it; if one has a moral obligation to perform an action, one has obligation-relevant control in performing it (Haji 2012a. pp. 24-26). To see this consider a case like Leroy:
Leroy is a paralyzed man from the waist down, seemingly all alone, enjoying some sun at the edge of the lake in his wheelchair. He notices a young man drowning in the lake. Because of his condition it seems plausible to say that he is not obligated to jump in and save the drowning man. He is not obligated to do so because he cannot do so. If he had the opportunity to save him (i.e. he miraculously regained feeling in his legs) we would say that he was obligated to save him. Therefore, it seems plausible to link obligations to opportunities. Thus we can follow Haji in adopting a central principle OIC, as our control principle for moral obligation:
OIC: S ought to do A only if S can do A.
As Haji has noted, barring no strong reasons to believe otherwise the same freedom requirements that hold for moral obligation should also hold for moral wrong and moral right too. Consider moral wrong in light of this. The corollary of (OIC) for wrongness is:
OICW: If it is wrong for S to do, A, then S can do A.
It also seems fundamental to claim that if something is impermissible then it cannot be obligatory.
Given the assumptions that wrong is equivalent to impermissible and that obligations are subsets of permissible actions then the following principle, OW, seems to hold:
OW: Agent S ought to do A if and only if it is morally wrong for S not to do A.
In fact, Furthermore, it is also true that one ought not to do A if and only if it is wrong to do A. If so, then we may follow Haji in accepting this principle:
“Ought Not” is equivalent to “Wrong” (Equivalence): S ought not do A if and only if it is wrong for S to do A.
Now we may argue as follows. Regarding wrong, if it is wrong for one to do A, then one ought not to do A (from Equivalence). If one ought not to do A, then one can refrain from doing A. So, if it is wrong for one to do A, one can refrain from doing A. But it is also true that if it is wrong for one to do A, one can do A (from OICW). Hence, if it is wrong for one to do A, both one can do A and one can refrain from doing A.
Similarly, regarding obligation, if one ought not to do A, then it is wrong for one to do A. If it is wrong for one to do A, then one can do A. Therefore, if one ought not to do A, then one can do A. But it is also true that if one ought not to do A, then one can refrain from doing A (from OIC). Thus, obligation, just like impermissibility, requires two-way control: the ability to do A and to refrain from doing A.
If obligation and wrong require alternatives, then barring no convincing reasons to believe otherwise, right requires alternatives as well. We may conclude that there is a requirement of alternative possibilities for obligation, right, and wrong.
Thus, if hard incompatibilism rules out two-way control it also rules out the deontic evaluations of moral rightness, wrongness, and obligatoriness. In others words, no act can EVER be morally right, wrong, or obligatory for anyone if hard incompatibilism is true. So contrary to what advocates of hard incompatibilism would have you believe our system of morality would be imperilled without free will (of the variety identified with two-way control).
 Ish Haji (2002; 2012) and Chris Franklin (2011a; 2011b) have suggested that the “can” in the ought implies can principle refers to one’s opportunities. This seems right to me.
 Haji spends a good deal of time arguing for and responding to objections against the symmetry in freedom requirements of obligation, wrong, and right. See (Haji pp.25-51).
Franklin, Christopher. 2011a. ‘Masks, Abilities, and Opportunities: Why the New Dispositionalism Cannot Succeed’, The Modern Schoolman (now Res Philosophica) 88:1&2, 89-103. (Special issue on Free Will and Moral Responsibility)
Franklin, Christopher. 2011b. ‘Farewell to the Luck (and Mind) Argument’, Philosophical Studies 156:2, 199–230.
Haji, Ishtiyaque. 2002. Deontic Morality and Control. OUP
Haji, Ishtiyaque. 2012. Reason’s Debt to Freedom. OUP