This book casts new light on the classic dispute between `compatibilists' and `incompatibilists' about determinism and moral responsibility. Martha Klein argues that the traditional account of the dispute, turning as it does on the notion of the agent's `ability to have acted otherwise', misrepresents the real disagreement, which arises from the compatibilists' conviction that it is sufficient for blameworthiness that an agent's wrongdoing was the result of a morally reprehensible frame of mind, and the incompatibilists' insistence that wrongdoers cannot be morally responsible for their actions if they are not responsible for their motivating desires and beliefs. The incompatibilist position seems compelling when, for instance, we consider wrongdoers whose desires and attitudes can be traced to early emotional deprivation. The author argues that our response to these and other `problem cases' commits us to an incompatibilist condition for blameworthiness which is actually unfulfillable. In her view, however, some reflections on emotional deprivation should also encourage acceptance of a compatibilist condition which will satisfy our desire to be just more fully than the usual proposals emanating from either side of the debate.
`excellent book ... a significant contribution to age-old discussions of freedom, responsibility and determinism' Times Literary Supplement 'I found this a most enjoyable, and largely convincing book. Her discussion of the views of other writers is clear and helpful. I would strongly recommend the book to readers interested in its topics.' Harold W. Noonan, University of Birmingham, Mind, Vol. 101, No. 401, Jan. 1992 'this stimulating and significant study ... The book is intricate, yet perspicuous, and contains numerous discussions of contemporary positions. This argument is radical and original. The best we can hope for is fresh insight into central issues. This book amply fulfils that hope.' Roger Crisp, University College, Oxford, Philosophical Books, July 1991 `This book is chock full of ideas and arguments. There is a little something here for anyone interested in action, free action, responsibility, decision makin, and the practice of blaming ... Not only is the book wide-ranging, it is refreshingly open-minded about issues that tend to inspire rather dogmatic partisanship ... it stimulated me to reconsider my own views on many of the issues it discusses ... I believe Klein's proposal reflects an insight well worth underscoring.' The Philosophical Review
Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs (Hardcover)
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 17th May 1990
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97 x 1.75
Weight (kg): 0.45