Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Is there a freedom requirement for moral responsibility?*

  • Phillip D. Gosselin (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2010

The Principle that freedom is necessary for moral responsibility (hereafter referred to as “the freedom principle”) has received a variety of explications, but few philosophers have doubted that in some plausible sense it is true. However, two philosophers have recently challenged it using very different but equally ingenious arguments. J.F.M. Hunter has provided the more obviously direct attack in arguing that considerations of freedom as such are in no way relevant to assessments of moral responsibility. Harry Frankfurt has directed his fire at the version of the freedom principle which says that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. Both Frankfurt and Hunter point out the significance of their arguments for the determinism/moral responsibility debate: if there is no freedom requirement for moral responsibility, then even if determinism threatens freedom, it does not follow that determinism threatens moral responsibility.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Gerald Dworkin , “Acting Freely,” Noûs, 4 (11, 1970), 367–83

On Not Being Able To Do Otherwise” in Mind, LXXXII (07, 1973), 321–30

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
  • URL: /core/journals/dialogue-canadian-philosophical-review-revue-canadienne-de-philosophie
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *