Advertisement

Erkenntnis

pp 1–13 | Cite as

Moral Responsibility for Actions and Omissions: The Asymmetry Thesis Rejected

  • David PalmerEmail author
  • Yuanyuan Liu
Original Research

Abstract

There is an important contemporary debate in moral responsibility about whether the following asymmetry thesis is true: moral responsibility for actions does not require alternative possibilities but moral responsibility for omissions does. In this paper, we do two things. First, we consider and reject a recent argument against the asymmetry thesis, contending that the argument fails because it rests on a false view about the metaphysics of omissions. Second, we develop and defend a new argument against the asymmetry thesis, one that avoids the problem with the first argument by not resting on any assumptions about what omissions are metaphysically.

Notes

References

  1. Belnap, N., Perloff, M., & Xu, M. (2001). Facing the future. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bernstein, S. (2015). The metaphysics of omissions. Philosophy Compass, 10, 208–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Capes, J. (2010). The W-defense. Philosophical Studies, 150, 61–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clarke, R. (2014). Omissions. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cyr, T. (2017). Moral responsibility for actions and omissions: A new challenge to the asymmetry thesis. Philosophical Studies, 174, 3153–3161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davidson, D. (1985). Replies to essays I-IX. In B. Vermazen & M. Hintikka (Eds.), Essays on Davidson: Actions and events. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fischer, J. M. (1986). Responsibility and failure. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 86, 251–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fischer, J. M. (2006). Free will and moral responsibility. In J. M. Fischer (Ed.), My way: Essays on moral responsibility. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Fischer, J. M. (2010). The Frankfurt cases: the moral of the stories. Philosophical Review, 119, 315–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fischer, J. M. (2017). Responsibility and omissions. In D. Nelkin & S. Rickless (Eds.), The ethics and law of omissions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Fischer, J. M., & Ravizza, M. (1998). Responsibility and control: A theory of moral responsibility. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frankfurt, H. (1969). Alternate possibilities and moral responsibility. Journal of Philosophy, 66, 829–839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ginet, C. (1996). In defense of the principle of alternative possibilities. Philosophical Perspectives, 10, 403–417.Google Scholar
  14. Haji, I. (2016). Luck’s mischief: Obligation and blameworthiness on a thread. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hunt, D. (2005). Moral responsibility and buffered alternatives. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 29, 126–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kane, R. (1996). The significance of free will. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lewis, D. (1986). Postscripts to causation. In Philosophical papers, volume II. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Nelkin, D. & Rickless, S. (2015). Review of Clarke’s omissions. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/omissions-agency-metaphysics-and-responsibility.
  19. Palmer, D. (2013). Capes on the W-defense. Philosophia, 41, 555–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Palmer, D. (2018). Omissions: The constitution view defended. Forthcoming in Erkenntnis.Google Scholar
  21. Pereboom, D. (2014). Free will, agency, and meaning in life. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pereboom, D. (2015). Omissions and different sense of responsibility. In A. Buckareff, C. Moya, & S. Rosell (Eds.), Agency, freedom, and moral responsibility. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Tiehen, J. (2015). The role functionalist theory of absences. Erkenntnis, 80, 505–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Widerker, D. (1995). Libertarianism and Frankfurt’s attack on the principle of alternative possibilities. Philosophical Review, 104, 247–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Widerker, D. (2000). Frankfurt’s attack on the principle of alternative possibilities: A further look. Philosophical Perspectives, 14, 181–202.Google Scholar
  26. Widerker, D. (2005). Blameworthiness, non-robust alternatives, and the principle of alternative expectations. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 29, 292–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations