Galen Strawson: The Impossibility Of Moral Responsibility

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Lucy Bichakhchyan Introduction to Philosophy Second Short Written Assignment GALEN STRAWSON THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF MORAL RESPONSIBILITY Galen Strawson is a British philosopher, who is famous for his philosophical works on free will, panpsychism, causality, determinism etc. This paper is about his article “The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility”. The title of the article already gives away the stand that Strawson has considering Moral Responsibility.. He describes the nature of Moral Responsibility as an illusion. There is an argument which he calls “Basic Argument” which proves that humans can not be morally responsible for their actions. No matter if determinism is true or false Strawson still holds the view on validity of the Basic Argument. The Basic Argument is as follows. Nothing can be causa sui ( meaning nothing can be the cause of itself.) In order to be truly morally responsible for one 's actions one would have to be the cuase of itself,at least in certain crucial mental respects. Therefore nothing can be truly morally responsible. To understand the Basic Argument and prove its validity, I’d like to break it down into 3 steps. Firstly, Strawson argues that we do what we do because of the way we are. Meaning that our actions are determined by the characteristics, personalities etc. that we have as people. For example me: I love coffee more than tea, so the fact of me having coffee every morning at AUA cafeteria wouldn’t surprise any of my friends, because I

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