Date of Award

8-12-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Eddy Nahmias

Second Advisor

Nicole Vincent

Third Advisor

Tim O'Keefe

Fourth Advisor

Sandra Dwyer

Abstract

In his influential work, “Freedom and Resentment,” P.F. Strawson argues that the truth of determinism would be irrelevant to our moral responsibility practices, since our commitment to these practices is somehow connected to both our reactive attitudes—e.g. resentment, gratitude, and love—and participation in interpersonal relationships. However, some of the moves made by Strawson in his work remain unclear. In this paper, I address three prominent attempts to explain these moves, and contend that none of them captures his view because they all focus too narrowly on notions of moral demands and feelings of resentment. I argue that the correct understanding of Strawson’s compatibilism needs to take seriously his close connection between the proneness to feel all of the reactive attitudes and our seeing ourselves as agents (as opposed to mere objects). In light of this argument, I conclude by offering a more plausible reading of Strawson’s compatibilism.

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