Determinism, Blameworthiness, and Deprivation

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byMartha Klein

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This book casts new light on the classic dispute between `compatibilists' and `incompatibilists' about determinism and moral responsibility. Martha Klein argues that the traditional account of the dispute, turning as it does on the notion of the agent's `ability to have acted otherwise',misrepresents the real disagreement, which arises from the compatibilists' conviction that it is sufficient for blameworthiness that an agent's wrongdoing was the result of a morally reprehensible frame of mind, and the incompatibilists' insistence that wrongdoers cannot be morally responsible fortheir actions if they are not responsible for their motivating desires and beliefs. The incompatibilist position seems compelling when, for instance, we consider wrongdoers whose desires and attitudes can be traced to early emotional deprivation. The author argues that our response to these andother `problem cases' commits us to an incompatibilist condition for blameworthiness which is actually unfulfillable. In her view, however, some reflections on emotional deprivation should also encourage acceptance of a compatibilist condition which will satisfy our desire to be just more fully thanthe usual proposals emanating from either side of the debate.

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This book casts new light on the classic dispute between `compatibilists' and `incompatibilists' about determinism and moral responsibility. Martha Klein argues that the traditional account of the dispute, turning as it does on the notion of the agent's `ability to have acted otherwise',misrepresents the real disagreement, which arise...

Martha Klein is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Christ Church, Oxford.

other books by Martha Klein

Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice
Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.79 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198248342

ISBN - 13:9780198248347

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`This book is chock full of ideas and arguments. There is a little something here for anyone interested in action, free action, responsibility, decision makin, and the practice of blaming ... Not only is the book wide-ranging, it is refreshingly open-minded about issues that tend to inspirerather dogmatic partisanship ... it stimulated me to reconsider my own views on many of the issues it discusses ... I believe Klein's proposal reflects an insight well worth underscoring.'The Philosophical Review