Defending Nonhistorical Compatibilism: A Reply to Haji and Cuypers


Is moral responsibility an historical or a nonhistorical notion? A growing number of philosophers writing on the topics of free will and moral responsibility have taken up an historical thesis. I have recently defended the nonhistorical position in response to the central criticism that historical theorists have leveled against it (McKenna, 2004). While I remain agnostic as regards the historical/nonhistorical debate, I have argued that the nonhistorical view is more resilient than the historical theorists contend. In an especially insightful article, Ishtiyaque Haji and Stefaan Cuypers (2007) have taken direct aim at my defense of the nonhistorical thesis. In this paper, I argue that their efforts, while illuminating, are nevertheless inconclusive. A nonhistorical approach survives their indictment.

Published in: Philosophical Issues
2012 22 Pages 264-280