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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 22, 1997

Ishtiyaque Haji
Pages 261-287

Liberating Constraints

Roughly, when an agent performs an action under liberating constraints, the agent could not avoid perfonning that action, her inability to do otherwise stems from her not being able to will to do otherwise, yet in perfonning the action, the agent may well regard herself as having acted freely or autonomously, or “in character” (as opposed to “out of character”), or in conformity with her “deep self.” As action under liberating constraints issues from one’s “deep self,” it seems reasonable to suppose, as some have recommended, that whenever a person acts under such constraints, she is morally responsible for her action. I first argue against this recommendation. Then I develop a sketch of an account of control---the sort required for the moral responsibility---which implies that, frequently, those who act under liberating constraints are not morally responsible for their (germane) actions.

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