Reason's Debt to Freedom: Normative Appraisals, Reasons, and Free Will

Reason's Debt to Freedom: Normative Appraisals, Reasons, and Free Will

Reason's Debt to Freedom: Normative Appraisals, Reasons, and Free Will

Reason's Debt to Freedom: Normative Appraisals, Reasons, and Free Will

Synopsis

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. It follows that we cannot have objective reasons to perform an act unless we could have done otherwise. This is reason's debt to freedom. Haji argues, further, for the thesis that various things we value, such as moral and prudential obligation, intrinsic value, and a range of moral sentiments that figure centrally in interpersonal relationships, presuppose our having free will. They do so because each of these things essentially requires that we have objective reasons, the having of which, in turn, demands that we have alternatives. Finally, Haji distinguishes between two sorts of alternatives, strong or incompatibilist alternatives and weak or compatibilist alternatives. Assuming, on the one hand, that obligation and some of the other things we value require strong alternatives, he concludes that determinism precludes these things because determinism expunges strong alternatives. If, on the other hand, they require only weak alternatives, a chief compatibilist agenda of establishing the compatibility of these things with determinism without appeal to alternatives of any kind -- the semi-compatibilist's agenda -- is jeopardized.
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