Situationism and Moral Responsibility: Free Will in Fragments
Manuel R. Vargas
University of San Francisco - School of Law; University of San Francisco - College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Philosophy
Andy Clark, Julian Kiverstein, & Tillmann Vierkant, eds., Decomposing the Will (Oxford Univ. Press 2013).
Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2014-07
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: free will, moral responsibility, reasons accounts, responsible agency, situationism, automaticity, philosophy of law
Date posted: January 24, 2014 ; Last revised: March 26, 2014