Moral responsibility and manipulation: on a novel argument against historicism

  • Alfred R. MeleEmail author


Taylor Cyr offers a novel argument against, as he puts it, “all versions of historicism” about direct moral responsibility (Philos Stud., 2019). The argument features constitutive luck and a comparison of manipulated agents and young agents performing the first actions for which they are morally responsible. Here it is argued that Cyr’s argument misses its mark. Alfred Mele’s historicism is highlighted.


Luck Manipulation Mele Moral responsibility Young agents 



  1. Arpaly, N. (2003). Unprincipled virtue. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Cyr, T. (2019). Manipulation and constitutive luck. Philosophical Studies. Scholar
  3. Davidson, D. (1987). Knowing one’s own mind. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 60, 441–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dennett, D. (1984). Elbow room. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Frankfurt, H. (1988). The importance of what we care about. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Frankfurt, H. (2002). Reply to John Martin Fischer. In S. Buss & L. Overton (Eds.), Contours of agency. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Mele, A. (1995). Autonomous agents. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Mele, A. (2006). Free will and luck. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mele, A. (2009a). Moral responsibility and agents’ histories. Philosophical Studies, 142, 161–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mele, A. (2009b). Moral responsibility and history revisited. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 12, 463–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mele, A. (2016). Moral responsibility: Radical reversals and original designs. Journal of Ethics, 20, 69–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mele, A. (2019). Manipulated agents. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Zimmerman, D. (1999). Born yesterday: Personal autonomy for agents without a past. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 23, 236–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

Personalised recommendations