Res Publica

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 383–396 | Cite as

Betting Against Compatibilism



Some argue that libertarianism represents the riskier incompatibilist view when it comes to the free will problem. An ethically cautious incompatibilist should bet that we are not free in the sense required for moral responsibility, these theorists claim, as doing so means that we no longer run the risk of holding the morally innocent responsible. In this paper, I show that the same reasoning also advises us to bet against compatibilism. Supposing that we are unsure about whether or not the causal order of the world is compatible with the kind of freedom that is required for moral responsibility, an ethically cautious approach would once again bet that hard incompatibilism is true.


Compatibilism Determinism Free will Incompatibilism Libertarianism Responsibility 



I am grateful to Karl Persson, Ann-Kristin Kölln and two anonymous referees for valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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