PH100 Lecture Notes

P3 moral responsibility exists only if we could have

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Unformatted text preview: P3: Moral responsibility exists only if we could have acted otherwise. P4: Determinism is true. Conclusion: There is no moral responsibility. • Frankfurt: reject P3 → Principle of Alternate Possibilities Principle of Alternate Possibilities “A person is morally responsible for what he had done only if he [/she] could have done otherwise” (829) • PAP is false. Appeal of PAP PAP is the result of three intuitive/commonsensical statements: 1. One is blameworthy for doing X only if one ought to not do X. 2. One ought not to do X if one is able not to do X. 3. One is able not to do X if one can do otherwise than X. Result: One is blameworthy for doing X only if one can do otherwise than X. (PAP) The four faces of Jones General scenario: “Jones decides for reasons of his own to do something (rob a bank), then someone threatens him with a very harsh punishment (so harsh that any reasonable person would submit to the threat) unless he does precisely that and Jones does it. Will we hold Jones morally responsible for what he has done? Jones1: Jones1 is unreasonable. The threat has no effect on him. He will do whatever he has decided to do regardless of what happens after he has made his decision and regardless of the cost of his action. • Is Jones1 morally responsible for robbing the bank? ◦ Frankfurt: yes. Jones2: Jones 2 is “stampeded” by the threat. He is upset by the threat so much that he no longer remembers his earlier plans. Nothing matters to him now but the threat. • Is Jones2 morally responsible for robbing the bank? ◦ Frankfurt: No. (p. 832) Jones3: Jones3 was neither “stampeded” by the threat nor indifferent to it. He had a prior motivation to perform the action (i.e., rob the bank) but if he did not have that prior motivation the threat would have caused him to perform the act. (p. 832) • has no alternative • Suppose that Jones3 robs the bank. Is he morally responsible? ◦ Frankfurt: yes. • Two questions: 1. Was Jones3 coerced by the threat to perform the act? If so, then being coerced does not exclude moral responsibility. 2. Could Jones3 have acted otherwise? If not, then PAP is false. • p. 834 • Jones3 doesn't suffice. Jones4: Black wants Jones4 to do something (e.g., rob a bank). Black implants a device in Jones4's brain that will be activated only if Jones4 shows signs of a decision not to rob the bank. If the device is activated, then Jones4 will decide to do (and in fact, do) what Black wants him to do. Suppose that Black is closely watching Jones4 but he never triggers the device. Jones4 decides to rob the bank on his own reasons. • Questions: ◦ Is Jones4 morally responsible for robbing the bank? ◦ Could Jones4 have acted otherwise?...
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P3 Moral responsibility exists only if we could have acted...

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