Hard Incompatibilist Challenges To Morality And Autonomy

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The following dissertation consists of three largely independent papers that are united in the general purpose of developing and extending the hard incompatibilist view against compatibilist and libertarian positions on free will. Hard incompatibilism is the view that the free will required for moral responsibility is incompatible with both the truth of causal determinism and its falsity. My position differs from those of some philosophers who hold similar views (such as Derk Pereboom and Saul Smilansky) in that I believe that this incompatibilism extends to important aspects of human life beyond the traditional issues of free will and moral responsibility. I do not attempt to independently establish the core claims of hard incompatibilism (by, for example, arguing for the inability of compatibilist and libertarian accounts to capture what's required for free, morally responsible action). Rather, I attempt to establish the correctness of hard incompatibilism in relatively less explored areas in the free will debate - in particular, some central deontic moral concepts and rational deliberation. I argue in chapter 1 that determinism is incompatible with moral obligation and, by extension, the moral wrongness of actions. In chapter 2 I provide reasons for thinking that it should not be psychologically possible for an agent to deliberate rationally while believing her deliberative process to be causally determined. In the final chapter I assume, in contrast with the first two chapters, that determinism is false, and I examine the implications of this assumption for the predicament of the rational deliberator. I argue that an indeterministic conception of one's own agency is psychologically incompatible with the sense of control required for rational deliberation.

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