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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 1999

Ethics

John Martin Fischer
Pages 129-140

The Value of Moral Responsibility

Moral responsibility requires control of one’s behavior. But there are different kinds of control. One sort of control entails the existence of genuinely accessible alternative possibilities. I call this regulative control. I believe that an agent can control his or her behavior without having control over it. In such a circumstance, the agent enjoys what I call guidance control, but not regulative control. He guides his behavior in the way characteristic of agents who act freely, yet he does not have alternative possibilities with respect to his decision or action. I contend that moral responsibility requires guidance control, but not regulative control. In this paper, I wish to provide a measure of intuitive appeal to the claim that guidance control is all the control (or freedom) necessary for moral responsibility by sketching the picture that supports this claim.

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