This book addresses a dilemma concerning freedom and moral obligation (obligation, right and wrong). If determinism is true, then no one has control over one's actions. If indeterminism is true, then no one has control over their actions. But it is morally obligatory, right or wrong for one to perform some action only if one has control over it. Hence, no one ever performs an action that is morally obligatory, right or wrong. The author defends the view that this dilemma can be evaded but not in a way traditional compatibilists about freedom and moral responsibility will find congenial. For moral obligation is indeed incompatible with determinism but not with indeterminism. He concludes with an argument to the effect that, if determinism is true and no action is morally obligatory, right or wrong, then our world would be considerably morally impoverished as several sorts of moral appraisal would be unjustified.
Published by Cambridge University Press on 07/18/2002
This book explores a central question of moral philosophy, addressing whether we are morally responsible for certain kinds of actions, intentional omissions, and the consequences deriving therefrom. Haji distinguishes between moral responsibility and a more restrictive category, moral appraisability. To say that a person is appraisable for an action is to say that he or she is deserving either of praise or blame for that action. One of Haji's principal aims is to uncover conditions sufficient for appraisability of actions. He begins with a number of puzzles that serve to structure and organize the issues, each one of which motivates a condition required for appraisability. The core of Haji's analysis involves his examination of three primary types of conditions. According to a control condition, a person must control the action in an appropriate way in order to be appraisable. An autonomy condition permits moral appraisability for an action only if it ultimately derives from a person's authentic evaluative scheme. On Haji's epistemic requirement, moral praiseworthiness or blameworthiness demands belief on the part of the agent in the rightness or wrongness of an action. Haji concludes this portion of his argument by incorporating these conditions into a general principle which outlines sufficient conditions for appraisability. Haji offers a fascinating discussion of the implications of his analysis. He demonstrates that his appraisability concept is applicable to a variety of non-moral kinds of appraisal, such as those involving legal, prudential and etiquette considerations. He looks at crosscultural attributions of blameworthiness and argues that such attributions are frequently mistaken. He considers the case of addicts and suggests that they may not be morally responsible for actions their addictions are said to cause. He even takes up the intriguing question of whether we can be blamed for the thoughts of our dream selves. Engaging with a central metaphysical question in his conclusion, Haji argues that the conditions of moral responsibility he defends are neither undermined by determinism nor threatened by certain varieties of incompatibilism. Addressing a range of little-discussed topics and forging crucial connections between moral theory and moral responsibility, Moral Appraisability is vital reading for students and scholars of moral philosophy, metaphysics, and the philosophy of law.
Published by Oxford University Press on 02/26/1998
Book details: 288 pages.
To have free will with respect to an act is to have the ability both to perform and to refrain from performing it. In this book, Ishtiyaque Haji argues that no one can have practical reasons of a certain sort -- "objective reasons" -- to perform some act unless one has free will regarding that act.
Published by Oxford University Press on 06/01/2012
Book details: 208 pages.
The role of freedom in assigning moral responsibility is one of the deepest problems in metaphysics and moral theory. Incompatibilism’s Allure provides original analysis of the principal arguments for incompatibilism. Ishtiyaque Haji incisively examines the consequence argument, the direct argument, the deontic argument, the manipulation argument, the impossibility argument and the luck objection. He introduces the most important contemporary discussions in a manner accessible to advanced undergraduates, but also suited to professional philosophers. The result is a unique and compelling account for incompatibilism’s continuing allure.
Published by Broadview Press on 11/03/2008
Book details: 224 pages.
Can you be morally obligated to do something? To renowned philosopher Ishtiyaque Haji, the answer is guardedly no. Regardless of whether determinism is true, he argues, there is a prima facie plausibility that there are no moral obligations. Powerfully and efficiently, Haji develops a conclusion that has major implications for how we conceive issues in moral responsibility and free will. The book develops the obligation dilemma as clearly as possible. The next step will be for further sustained philosophical work to solve it, assuming it can be resolved, inspired by Haji. In many respects, the obligation dilemma mirrors the well-known responsibility dilemma, where no one is morally responsible for anything. When suitably amended, the strongest recommendations in favor of, or in response to, the responsibility dilemma neither fully support nor undermine the obligation dilemma. Exposing the obligation dilemma's implications for responsibility, and its ramifications for forgiveness (something central to interpersonal relationships), underscores its urgency.
Published by Oxford University Press, USA on 07/23/2019
Book details: 320 pages.
Something is subject to luck if it is beyond our control. In this book, Haji shows that luck detrimentally affects both moral obligation and moral responsibility. He argues that factors influencing the way we are, together with considerations that link motivation and ability to perform intentional actions, frequently preclude our being able to do otherwise. Since obligation requires that we can do otherwise, luck compromises the range of what is morally obligatory for us. This result, together with principles that conjoin responsibility and obligation, is then exploited to derive the further skeptical conclusion that behavior for which we are morally responsible is limited as well. Throughout these explorations, Haji makes extensive use of concrete cases to test the limits of how we should understand free will moral responsibility, blameworthiness, determinism, and luck itself.
Published by Oxford University Press on 01/14/2016
Book details: 376 pages.
Freedom of the sort implicated in acting freely or with free will is important to the truth of different sorts of moral judgment, such as judgments of moral responsibility and those of moral obligation. Little thought, however, has been invested into whether appraisals of good or evil presuppose free will. This important topic has not commanded the attention it deserves owing to what is perhaps a prevalent assumption that freedom leaves judgments concerning good and evil largely unaffected. The central aim of this book is to dispute this assumption by arguing for the relevance of free will to the truth of two sorts of such judgment: welfare-ranking judgments or judgments of personal well-being (when is one's life intrinsically good for the one who lives it?), and world-ranking judgments (when is a possible world intrinsically better than another?). The book also examines free will’s impact on the truth of such judgments for central issues in moral obligation and in the free will debate. This book should be of interest to those working on intrinsic value, personal well-being, moral obligation, and free will.
Published by Springer Science & Business Media on 10/24/2008
Book details: 204 pages.
The primary purpose of this book is to explain the distinction, on the one hand, between indoctrination and education, and, on the other, between responsibility-subverting manipulation and mere causation. Both are elucidated by an appeal to common ground, an account of when our motivations and other springs of action are "truly our own" or "authentic." The book progresses from analyses of the sort of agency that responsibility requires and the authenticity of our motivations, together with a discussion of the relevance of these analyses to manipulation and related problems in the philosophy of education, to a defense of the thesis that responsibility from love's standpoint is of vital significance, and the implications of this thesis for what the authors deem to be legitimate goals of education and other issues in free will. Philosophers and advanced students working in free will, moral psychology, and the philosophy of education will find this text to be extremely useful.
Published by Routledge on 06/25/2008
Book details: 258 pages.
Determinism is, roughly, the thesis that facts about the past and the laws of nature entail all truths. A venerable, age-old dilemma concerning responsibility distils to this: if either determinism is true or it is not true, we lack “responsibility-grounding” control. Either determinism is true or it is not true. So, we lack responsibility-grounding control. Deprived of such control, no one is ever morally responsible for anything. A number of the freshly-minted essays in this collection address aspects of this dilemma. Responding to the horn that determinism undermines the freedom that responsibility (or moral obligation) requires, the freedom to do otherwise, some papers in this collection debate the merits of Frankfurt-style examples that purport to show that one can be responsible despite lacking alternatives. Responding to the horn that indeterminism implies luck or randomness, other papers discuss the strengths or shortcomings of libertarian free will or control. Also included in this collection are essays on the freedom requirements of moral obligation, forgiveness and free will, a “desert-free” conception of free will, and vicarious legal and moral responsibility. The authors of the essays in this volume are philosophers who have made significant contributions to debates in free will, moral responsibility, moral obligation, the reactive attitudes, philosophy of action, and philosophical psychology, and include John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, Michael McKenna, Alfred Mele, and Derk Pereboom.
Published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing on 10/03/2013
Book details: 280 pages.
Bernard Berofsky argues that there is room in a deterministic world for a conception of free will as self-determination including the power of genuine choice. He grounds this compatibilist position in a new version of the regularity theory of laws, derived from David Hume's denial of necessary connections in nature.
Published by Oxford University Press on 01/05/2012
Book details: 280 pages.