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Nothing personal: A defense of non-libertarian incompatibilism
Using a belief-desire causal account of doing, I develop the idea that we are not agents, not unmoved movers, but rather doers, passively moved movers. I criticize certain compatibilist accounts of self-control (primarily that of Alfred Mele), and then go on to explore the (lack of) moral status of certain sorts of robots that Daniel Dennett has described. Then I argue that we are not different in kind from such robots and share with them in an immunity from literal moral accountability due to a lack of the sort of ultimate control that I argue such accountability requires. ^ Next I examine, and criticize, Harry Frankfurt's influential example of the counterfactual intervener. I argue that, while it does succeed in overthrowing the principle that our being morally responsible requires that we face alternative possibilities, that it does not provide as much support for the compatibilist view as many have supposed. I then go on to criticize certain claims due to P. F. Strawson and Susan Wolf that conceiving of ourselves as morally responsible agents is either psychologically inescapable or a necessary part of having a life worth living. ^ Finally, I turn to a brief exposition of what I conceive of as a substitute for moral evaluation: the assessment of role responsibility. ^
Bruce Charles Galbreath,
"Nothing personal: A defense of non-libertarian incompatibilism"
(January 1, 1999).
Electronic Doctoral Dissertations for UMass Amherst.