By Michael Bradie
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Extra resources for Action and Responsibility
His action was inevitable," "He could not have done otherwise," etc. These are not nearly equivalent, however. A person may fail to act freely, though, in a literal sense, he could have done otherwise. Smith does not want to reveal a secret, but is tortured until he submits. Though he certainly did not submit freely, BERNARD BEROFSKY 39 he may have submitted prior to the time he literally became incapable of holding out. 4 All sorts of moral considerations bear on the question of his responsibility under these circumstances, that is, if he submitted at a point in time when he could have continued to hold out.
I am aware, however, that many philosophers think (i) is false. Many philosophers, in fact, think that anyone who accepts (i) convicts himself ipso facto of philosophical incompetence. ) Because (i) is so very controversial, however, I propose in this paper to investigate the question whether moral responsibility is compatible with determinism independent/y of (i). I shall argue that determinism and responsibility are incompatible, and not only shall I make no use of proposition (i) in my argument, I shall make no mention whatever of' free will other than a very brief one at the end of the paper, and that in relation to a question of secondary importance.
S. Greenspan, "Behavior Control and Freedom of Action," Philosophical Review, LXXXVII, No. 2 (April, 1978), 225-40. 13. Frankfurt, p. 77. 14. Frankfurt, "Three Concepts of Free Action: Il," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society: Supplementary Vol. XLIX (1975), 118-19. 15. Desires are hardly ever literally irresistible. One can almost always find some way of resisting them, even if one has to take a drug or hire someone to prevent the acting out of the desire. 16. "Three Concepts of Free Action: Il," 115.
Action and Responsibility by Michael Bradie