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Against Moral Responsibility$
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Bruce N. Waller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016599

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016599.001.0001

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Is It Possible to Eliminate Moral Responsibility?

Is It Possible to Eliminate Moral Responsibility?

(p.305) 16 Is It Possible to Eliminate Moral Responsibility?
Against Moral Responsibility

Bruce N. Waller

The MIT Press

This chapter illustrates the desperation that is almost tangible in the attempts to support moral responsibility. Evidence of this desperation becomes apparent in the wide variety of distinctly different and often conflicting proposals for supporting moral responsibility. The moral responsibility system is deeply embedded in common sense, the legal system, and deeply entrenched in man’s natural strike-back emotions. Existentialists refer to concepts such as “being-for-itself” to demonstrate the great choices one makes sans constraints and conditions. Contemporary libertarians offer similar arguments, but with a hint of apprehension. Robert Kane is one such libertarian, and he rejects mystery and relies on quantum indeterminism amplified by chaos. Compatibilists, on the other hand, are united in their rejection of miracles but divided on almost everything else.

Keywords:   moral responsibility system, common sense, legal system, natural strike-back emotions, existentialists, being-for-itself, contemporary libertarians, Robert Kane, quantum indeterminism, compatibilists

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