Document Type

Honors Project


In this project, I will analyze, summarize, and critique the incompatibilist theory known as source incompatibilism, which argues that a moral agent is morally responsible for an action only if they are the proper source of that action. More specifically, I will analyze the source incompatibilist views of event-causal incompatibilism, which argues that an agent has free will only if there exists indeterminacy in her decision-making process, either before the formation of a decision itself of during the formation of a decision. I will argue that event-causal incompatibilist views suffer from problems of control and moral chanciness. Thus I will argue that event-causal incompatibilism is no more philosophically tenable than its compatibilist counterparts. If this is true, the event-causal incompatibilist ought to abandon it due to considerations of parsimony.

After I have successfully refuted event-causal incompatibilism, I will introduce a novel theory of moral responsibility compatibilism of my own, which I will argue is the only tenable philosophical theory left for the proponent of event-causal incompatibilism. I will attempt to reconcile moral responsibility with causal determinism, utilizing an argument from the philosophy of David Enoch in his book Taking Morality Seriously. When this is complete, I will defend my compatibilist theory from various objections by philosophers Saul Smilansky and Ishtiyaque Haji.

I will end the discussion with a brief introduction to other non-libertarian views of moral responsibility and determinism, which do not require libertarian notions of free will and thus do not require indeterminacy for freedom. These include Saul Smilansky’s illusionism and Derk Pereboom’s hard incompatibilism. I will analyze these views, but ultimately I will critique them. I will argue that these theories also are lacking, and so they are not viable alternatives to the proponent of moral responsibility.

Included in

Philosophy Commons



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