Browsing All Posts filed under »Free Will«

30 Views on Free Will

February 5, 2014 by

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Anyone trying to get caught up to date with the contemporary views in the free will debate will do well to visit this site (see here). This is the newest issue of Methode, and they interviewed 30 philosophers working on free will. Each philosopher, the line-up is impressive, was asked the same series of questions […]

Calgary Woman Gets 18 More Months In Prison (36 Total!) For Killing 2 Children?

January 30, 2014 by

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My initial reaction when reading the headline today was, WHAT!?! (see article here) Meredith Borowiec just killed two babies by putting them in the dumpster (leaving them for dead) and she can walk the streets in 18 months? I think my reaction is telling. To me, this woman ought to get punished with more severity. Why? Because […]

Romantic Dysfunction, BPD, and Moral Responsibility

January 22, 2014 by

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It is commonly argued that for one to be morally responsible, one must have control over one’s actions (see here for a run-down on arguments for that claim). Now, one does not generally concede that a person is moral pariah simply because the person is in the deepest stages of love, even if we do tend to […]

Martha Nussbaum, “What is Anger, and Why Should We Care?”

January 16, 2014 by

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Martha Nussbaum has given a very nice talk on why anger is “of dubious value in both life and the law“, the talk can be found here. Although it seems obvious that anger can be bad for our well-being and is often associated with acts of malice and bad intent (and rightfully so), I do […]

Do Incompatibilists Have Inconsistent Intuitions?

December 20, 2013 by

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Incompatibilism, for our purposes here, is the view that the sort free will required for moral responsibility is not compatible with determinism. In a few recent studies there seems to be an apparent disconnect between  incompatibilist intuitions when asked compatibility questions in a different way. On the one hand, in abstract cases the folk seem […]

Moral Responsibility and PAP: Can we uphold PAP and advance a “quality of the will” account of moral responsibility?

December 20, 2013 by

Comments Off on Moral Responsibility and PAP: Can we uphold PAP and advance a “quality of the will” account of moral responsibility?

Recently, over at PEA Soup, Heath White blogged about an important question concerning moral responsibility and control. The question was: Does moral responsibility require the ability to do otherwise? PAP (or, the “principle of alternative possibilities) is the principle that says: If S is blameworthy for doing X, S must have been able to do otherwise than […]

Moral Responsibility and Volunteer Soldiers

December 3, 2013 by

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When considering one’s moral responsibility we often take voluntariness into account and with good reason. If one was forced to commit some action against their will we usually claim that they are not morally responsible for what they did. We say this because, all things being equal, they didn’t voluntarily commit the act. Similarly, if […]

Book Release: Free Will and Moral Responsibility

November 4, 2013 by

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It brings me great pleasure to announce the release of my first edited volume, Free Will and Moral Responsibility (co-edited with Ish Haji).  For those interested in purchasing the book here is a link to amazon and here is the publisher’s press release. Below you can find a summary to the book. “Determinism is, roughly, the […]

A Dilemma Concerning Moral Obligation

November 4, 2013 by

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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 […]

Free Will and Love

October 4, 2013 by

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I have argued in the past that Sam Harris needs to read more philosophy. I have said this because Harris, in his book “Free Will“, failed to respond to compatibilist criticisms to the view he was arguing for, criticisms that have been around for quite some time. Harris’ arguments  attempt to prove the thesis that […]

Hard Incompatibilism and Ethics: Some Concerns

July 1, 2013 by

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If we think that ethics is supposed to tell us what we ought to do (this is the common understanding of ethics see here), and, if our conception of right and wrong is derived from our sense of moral obligation then the thesis of hard incompatibilism poses a serious threat to any ethical system that incorporates […]

The Importance of Free Will

June 29, 2013 by

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For those who think that a belief in free will is not that important I refer you to this excellent piece by Rebbeca Roach. I further some of the issues raised by Roach and will be posting on it soon, as soon as I get a draft of my candidacy complete which also happens to […]

What Can Philosophers Of Mind Learn From Being in Love?

June 23, 2013 by

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An underlying project for many philosophers of mind is to form general theories about the nature of consciousness and mental states. One general theory of consciousness identifies mental states with physical states. In the philosophy of mind game, we call these “physicalist identity theories”. These theories basically assert that every type of mental state is […]

Concussions and Informed Consent

June 10, 2013 by

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My soon to be 10 year old step-son wants to play football. I guess this should not come as a surprise. He has watched me get entertained by the sport for as long as he can remember. I taught him how to throw a football, run a crisp stop and go, and had many discussions […]

Does Blameworthiness Require Wrongdoing?

February 11, 2013 by

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A commonly held presupposition is that a person can be blameworthy only for acts that are considered morally wrong. I’ll refer to this as the ‘blameworthiness requires wrongness’ (BW) principle. Recently, a few philosophers began denying this principle citing cases where it is morally permissible to act in a certain way even though such acts […]

The Nature of Blame

September 26, 2012 by

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What is the nature of blame? Recently, I took my prelim exam in the Philosophy of Mind and one of the questions I answered was on the reactive attitudes and their effect on how we perceive what the nature of blame is. I found the question quite intriguing, and, the purpose of this post will be […]

The ‘Free Will Problem’

August 13, 2012 by

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The purpose of this post is simple; to navigate through some of the different positions one could take regarding the ‘problem of free will‘. I’ve been asked by some to go over the basics, so, here it goes. I’ll define the major terms internal to the debate  to give readers a bit more context and […]

Neuroscience and Free Will: New study debunks Libet’s interpretation

August 10, 2012 by

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The interconnection of neuroscience and free will has many researchers trying to make bold claims about their findings. In my last post I called Sam Harris’ conclusion that “free will is an illusion” into question. Specifically, I suggested that there were competing interpretations that could be made from the data that neuroscientist Benjamin Libet was […]

Free Will: Why Sam Harris needs to read more Philosophy

July 29, 2012 by

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In his book ‘Free Will’ (2012) Sam Harris offers up the conclusion that “free will is an illusion”. I can’t say that I’m surprised given the fact that  many neuroscientists have offered up similar responses to the free will problem (Libet 83′, 99′, 01′, 03′, among others) . But, falling in line with Libet and other neuroscientists […]

James Holmes: How his case can shed light on discussions of Moral Responsibility.

July 24, 2012 by

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In a recent blog post in Scientific American the author, Larry Geenemeier, suggests that the accused Colorado Shooter was lacking cognitive control and points specifically to one’s cognitive ability in order to try to make sense of the actions in Aurora, Colorado and other recent events by similarly profiled assailants. Though I agree that we […]