The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 473–484 | Cite as

Why Compatibilists Must Be Internalists

  • Taylor W. CyrEmail author


Some compatibilists are internalists (or structuralists). On their view, whether an agent is morally responsible for an action depends only on her psychological structure at that time (and not, say, on how she came to have that structure). Other compatibilists are externalists (or historicists). On their view, an agent’s history (how she came to be a certain way) can make a difference as to whether or not she is morally responsible. In response to worries about manipulation, some internalists have claimed that compatibilism requires internalism. Recently, Alfred Mele has argued that this internalist response is untenable. The aim of this paper is to vindicate the claim that compatibilism requires internalism, showing where Mele’s argument goes wrong along the way.


Compatibilism Externalism Internalism Alfred Mele Moral responsibility 



Thanks to Al Mele for discussing the main argument of this paper, and thanks to Gabriel De Marco, Neal Tognazzini, and two anonymous reviewers for comments on the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Samford UniversityBirminghamUSA

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