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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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Moral Responsibility in the Gaps

Moral Responsibility in the Gaps

(p.75) 5 Moral Responsibility in the Gaps
Against Moral Responsibility

Bruce N. Waller

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses how the natural sciences have relegated the miracle of unlimited creation of the self into obscurity. As biologists and psychologists enlarged the areas explicable by causal forces outside our ultimate control, the space available for special acts of free will was squeezed tighter. What used to be an almighty God, capable of miraculously creating the cosmos, has become a “god-of-the-gaps” that possessed limited power confined to “whatever science cannot yet explain.” On the other hand, compatibilists continue to insist that moral responsibility is compatible with naturalism and, consequently, making advances in natural science poses no problem for moral responsibility. The opposing view is discussed first—that of the incompatibilists, stating that the special human freedom essential for moral responsibility must be independent of natural explanation and natural causes.

Keywords:   unlimited creation of the self, natural sciences, causal forces, free will, god-of-the-gaps, compatibilists, incompatibilists, moral responsibility, naturalism

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