Strawson, moral responsibility, and the "Order of Explanation": An intervention

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Abstract

Some have seen P. F. Strawson's "Freedom and Resentment" as suggesting a point about the "order of explanation" concerning moral responsibility: it is not that it is appropriate to hold agents responsible because they are morally responsible, rather, it is ... something else. I argue that extant developments of "the reversal" face a dilemma: in order to make the proposals plausibly antilibertarian, they must be made to be implausible on other grounds. I conclude by suggesting a way of clarifying the intended thesis: an analogy with the concept of funniness. The result: there is no clear path to compatibilism from "the reversal."Some have seen P. F. Strawson's "Freedom and Resentment" as suggesting a point about the "order of explanation" concerning moral responsibility: it is not that it is appropriate to hold agents responsible because they are morally responsible, rather, it is ... something else. I argue that extant developments of "the reversal" face a dilemma: in order to make the proposals plausibly antilibertarian, they must be made to be implausible on other grounds. I conclude by suggesting a way of clarifying the intended thesis: an analogy with the concept of funniness. The result: there is no clear path to compatibilism from "the reversal."
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-240
JournalEthics
Volume127
Issue number1
Early online date31 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

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