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Situationism and Moral Responsibility: Free Will in Fragments

Andy Clark, Julian Kiverstein, & Tillmann Vierkant, eds., Decomposing the Will (Oxford Univ. Press 2013).

Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2014-07

35 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2014 Last revised: 26 Mar 2014

Manuel R. Vargas

Philosophy Department, UCSD

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Many prominent accounts of free will and moral responsibility make use of the idea that agents can be responsive to reasons. Call such theories "Reasons" accounts. This chapter considers the tenability of Reasons accounts in light of situationist social psychology and, to a lesser extent, the automaticity literature. The first half of the chapter argues that Reasons accounts are genuinely threatened by results in contemporary psychology. The second half argues that these threats can largely be met, but that doing so requires abandoning a suite of familiar assumptions and expectations about responsible agency and Reasons accounts in particular. The chapter goes on to advance a new account of responsible agency that accommodates a variety of worries about situationism and automaticity.

Keywords: free will, moral responsibility, reasons accounts, responsible agency, situationism, automaticity, philosophy of law

Suggested Citation

Vargas, Manuel R., Situationism and Moral Responsibility: Free Will in Fragments (2013). Andy Clark, Julian Kiverstein, & Tillmann Vierkant, eds., Decomposing the Will (Oxford Univ. Press 2013). ; Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2014-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2383592

Manuel R. Vargas (Contact Author)

Philosophy Department, UCSD ( email )

CA
United States

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