Frankfurt on personhood and moral responsibility

Then we will be bound to admit that being coerced does not exclude being morally responsible. When the chips were down he thought of nothing but the threat, and fear alone led him to act.

Crucially, the disapprobation is in response to the perceived attitude of ill will or culpable motive in the conduct of the person being held responsible. This is submitted via blackboard. Jones has resolved to shoot Smith.

The wanton, conceived as a marble bouncing randomly through a maze of desires, seems more like an automaton. Situations in which a person who does something cannot do otherwise because he is subject to coercive power are either not instances of coercion at all, or they are situations in which the person may still be morally responsible for what he does if it is not because of the coercion that he does it.

But the wanton addict has no higher-order volition regarding which of her first-order desires wins out. According to Slote, one cannot draw the desired incompatibilist-friendly conclusion even if the Consequence Argument's premises are all true.

What are these limits? These are the three necessary components: If determinism is true, then no agent, x, is the ultimate source of any action, a. Here, the hierarchy of desire still exists, but the inner debate about what I truly value, exists on only one level.

Typically, the classical compatibilists' benchmark of impeded or encumbered action is compelled action. Therefore, no one has power over the facts of the future. Here, his example of the willing addict is very important.

Central to Frankfurt's attack on PAP is a type of example in which an agent is morally responsible, but could not, at the time of the pertinent action, do otherwise. The philosophical definition of personhood is necessary in the discussion of autonomy and in understanding of moral responsibility.

MODERATORS

The principle of alternate possibilities should thus be replaced, in my opinion, by the following principle: Frankfurt on free will: But any plausible view of decision or of action will allow that reaching a decision and performing an action both involve earlier and later phases, with causal relations between them, and such that the earlier phases are not themselves part of the decision or of the action.3) Have I explained the relationship between personhood, moral responsibility, and freedom of will?

Major hint: Frankfurt discusses true free will vs. doing things freely or willingly. (see my write-up of his view of free will in the Writing Resources folder). The philosophical definition of personhood is necessary in the discussion of autonomy and in understanding of moral responsibility.

Introduction

Harry Frankfurt’s famous paper “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person” makes two major assertions. Frankfurt presents an account of personhood that focuses on reflection and the tussle between levels of desires. He intends his account to explain personhood, moral responsibility, and free will.

But as we saw, Frankfurt’s account has philosophical limitations (ethical and empirical) and unusual consequences. The philosophical definition of personhood is necessary in the discussion of autonomy and in understanding of moral responsibility.

Harry Frankfurt’s famous paper “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person” makes two major assertions. The mystic, like the addict, remains morally responsible for his actions; here, Frankfurt seems to have nailed the issue precisely - the two issues, of freedom of the will and moral responsibility, are in.

I The Idea of Personhood as a Desert Base, and a Comparison with Smilansky.

Compatibilism

To begin, let us consider in more detail why free will theorists often think that giving up the belief in moral responsibility implies giving up all our beliefs about desert.

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Frankfurt on personhood and moral responsibility
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