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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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The Basic Argument against Moral Responsibility

The Basic Argument against Moral Responsibility

(p.19) 2 The Basic Argument against Moral Responsibility
Against Moral Responsibility

Bruce N. Waller

The MIT Press

This chapter examines an account of moral responsibility given by Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola in his “Oration on the Dignity of Man.” According to this account, God bestowed special characteristics upon every realm of His great cosmos. Humans were decreed by God to “share in common whatever properties had been peculiar to each of the other creatures;” therefore, humans obtained the power to make themselves whatever they freely chose to be. This account does not come without problems, and one main problem is discussed in this chapter—the need for miracles. This is a daunting problem for those devoted to a naturalistic world view. Essentially, the claim made here is that moral responsibility cannot survive within a naturalistic environment devoid of miracles.

Keywords:   moral responsibility, Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, miracles, naturalistic world view, naturalistic environment

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