Volume 3, 1977
Paul R. Gomberg
Morality and the Push for Results
In "Freedom and Resentment" P.F. Strawson proposes that the dispute between compatibilists and incompatibilists can be resolved if we can identify what is missing in the compatibilist account of our morality, an account intended to reconcile determinism and moral responsibility. Strawson argues that our common morality requires us to take an involved attitude toward others. He says that compatibilist accounts of that morality suggest that we take an objective attitude toward others, which precludes being morally involved with them. I argue, on the contrary, that taking an objective, results-oriented attitude toward others does not preclude moral involvement and moral community. This leaves us with the original problem of why compatibilism seems to leave something out. I argue that compatibilist accounts of morality lead to a radically altered conception of individual responsibility and its relation to general social causes of individual wrongdoing.