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Action and Responsibility by Michael Bradie

By Michael Bradie

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The validity of (A) seeros to me to be beyond dispute. No one is responsible for the fact that 49 x 18 = 882, for the fact that arithmetic is essentially incomplete, or, if Kripke is right about necessary truth, for the fact that the atomic number of gold is 79. ) The validity of (B) is a more difficult matter. I shall return to it later. 5 My argument will require t wo premises, 'NS' and 'NL'. The former is obviously true, since no human being is rnarally responsible for anything that occurred before any human beings had ever been.

It would be wrong and unwarranted to expect such a theory to make use of the ingredients that philosophical analysis has identified in the ordinary concept of action; it would be even more wrong to im pose this as a condition of adequacy on such theories- to say that no theory that does not make use of the conceptual apparatus of our ordinary action talk could be accepted as an adequate theory of action. 4 As an analogy, take the metaphysical theory of ordinary objects according to which such objects are "bare particulars" supporting qualities.

Since moral premises hear on the denial of freedom, an action can be both free and determined under appropriate moral assumptions. , in Aristotle and in Hume. Some discussions have a utilitarian thrust. Richman, for example, conceded that a determined action may be unavoidable; yet he insists that responsibility is not thereby eliminated. 2 The responsibility of the agent of an action he could not avoid doing is based upon the sum of observations regarding the usefulness and social necessity of the institution of responsibility.

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