The consequences of incompatibilism

Patrick Todd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Incompatibilism about responsibility and determinism is sometimes directly construed as the thesis that if we found out that determinism is true, we would have to give up the reactive attitudes. Call this “the consequence”. I argue that this is a mistake: The strict modal thesis does not entail the consequence. First, some incompatibilists (who are also libertarians) may be what we might call “resolute responsibility theorists” (or “flip-floppers”). On this view, if we found out that determinism is true, this would not be to find out that no one is responsible; instead, what this would suggest is that incompatibilism is after all false. Second, some incompatibilists may instead deny the claim that if we found out that no one deserves the reactive attitudes, we would have to give up the reactive attitudes. Call this position “innocent incompatibilism.” I explore several different reasons why the fact that no one deserves the reactive attitudes likely does not translate into a requirement for us to give up the reactive attitudes. The upshot: incompatibilism may be practically irrelevant, even if true.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Responsibility
EditorsMaximilian Kiener
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Chapter16
Pages219-229
Number of pages11
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9781000990126, 9781003282242
ISBN (Print)9781032252391
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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