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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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Hierarchical Free Will and Natural Authenticity

Hierarchical Free Will and Natural Authenticity

(p.59) 4 Hierarchical Free Will and Natural Authenticity
Against Moral Responsibility

Bruce N. Waller

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the authenticity approach to free will and moral responsibility—specifically the account provided by Harry Frankfurt, contemporary philosophy’s most influential advocate of the authenticity approach. Although it is fairly easy to show how open alternatives contribute to natural free will, developing a naturalistic account of open alternatives that supports moral responsibility has proved difficult. This difficulty has forced many philosophers toward a new account of free will—one that focuses on choices that are one’s own choices instead of choices among open alternatives. In Frankfurt’s account, the question is not whether one could have made a different choice, but whether the choice made is one that the person approves and endorses at a higher reflective level.

Keywords:   authenticity approach, free will, moral responsibility, Harry Frankfurt, open alternatives, higher reflective level

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