•  492
    Locke on Express and Tacit Consent
    Political Theory 14 (2): 291-306. 1986.
    THE SUBJECT MATTER of this essay is Locke's well-known discussion of consent in sections 116-122 of the Second Treatise of Government.' I will not be concerned to discuss the place of consent in Locke's political philosophy 2 My concerns are somewhat narrower than this. I will simply be concerned to show that in important respects several recent discussions of Locke's political philosophy have misrepresented Locke's views on the subject of express and tacit consent. At theheart of these misinter…Read more
  •  402
    Sorabji and the dilemma of determinism
    Analysis 44 (4): 166. 1984.
    IN Necessity, Cause and Blame (London: Duckworth, 1980) Richard Sorabji attempts to develop a notion of moral responsibility which does not get caught on either horn of a well known dilemma. One horn is the argument that if an action was caused then it must have been necessary and therefore could not be one for which the agent is responsible. The other horn is the argument that if the action was not caused then it is inexplicable and random and therefore not something which the agent can be resp…Read more
  •  398
    Strawson's Way of Naturalizing Responsibility
    Ethics 102 (2): 287-302. 1992.
    Where Nature thus determines us, we have an original non-rational commitment which sets the bounds within which, or the stage upon which, reason can effectively operate.
  •  318
    Hume on Responsibility and Punishment
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20 (4). 1990.
    In this paper I pursue two closely related objectives. First, I articulate and describe the nature and character of Hume's theory of punishment. Second, in light of this account, I offer an assessment of the contem- porary interest and value of Hume's theory. Throughout my discus- sion I emphasize the relevance and importance of Hume's views on moral responsibility to his account of punishment.1 More specifically, I argue that Hume seeks to develop an account of punishment on the foundati…Read more
  •  291
    Hume’s Treatise and the Clarke-Collins Controversy
    Hume Studies 21 (1): 95-115. 1995.
    The philosophy of Samuel Clarke is of central importance to Hume’s Treatise. Hume’s overall attitude to Clarke’s philosophy may be characterized as one of systematic scepticism. The general significance of this is that it sheds considerable light on Hume’s fundamental “atheistic” or anti-Christian intentions in the Treatise. These are all claims that I have argued for elsewhere.’ In this paper I am concerned to focus on a narrower aspect of this relationship between the philosophies of Clarke an…Read more
  •  288
    Free Will, Art and Morality
    The Journal of Ethics 12 (3-4). 2008.
    The discussion in this paper begins with some observations regarding a number of structural similarities between art and morality as it involves human agency. On the basis of these observations we may ask whether or not incompatibilist worries about free will are relevant to both art and morality. One approach is to claim that libertarian free will is essential to our evaluations of merit and desert in both spheres. An alternative approach, is to claim that free will is required only in the sphe…Read more
  •  266
  •  221
    Hume on free will
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    David Hume is widely recognized as providing the most influential statement of the “compatibilist” position in the free will debate — the view that freedom and moral responsibility can be reconciled with (causal) determinism. The arguments that Hume advances on this subject are found primarily in the sections titled “Of liberty and necessity”, as first presented in A Treatise of Human Nature (2.3.1-2) and, later, in a slightly amended form, in the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (sec. 8).…Read more
  •  211
    The Free Will Problem [Hobbes, Bramhall and Free Will]
    In Desmond M. Clarke & Catherine Wilson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Early Modern Europe, Oxford University Press. pp. 424-444. 2011.
    This article examines the free will problem as it arises within Thomas Hobbes' naturalistic science of morals in early modern Europe. It explains that during this period, the problem of moral and legal responsibility became acute as mechanical philosophy was extended to human psychology and as a result human choices were explained in terms of desires and preferences rather than being represented as acts of an autonomous faculty. It describes how Hobbes changed the face of moral philosophy, throu…Read more
  •  203
    The immediate aim of this paper is to articulate the essential features of an alternative compatibilist position, one that is responsive to sources of resistance to the compatibilist program based on considerations of fate and luck. The approach taken relies on distinguishing carefully between issues of skepticism and pessimism as they arise in this context. A compatibilism that is properly responsive to concerns about fate and luck is committed to what I describe as free will pessimism, which i…Read more
  •  195
    Responsibility and the Condition of Moral Sense
    Philosophical Topics 32 (1-2): 287-305. 2004.
    Recent work in contemporary compatibilist theory displays considerable sophistication and subtlety when compared with the earlier theories of classical compatibilism. Two distinct lines of thought have proved especially influential and illuminating. The first developed around the general hypothesis that moral sentiments or reactive attitudes are fundamental for understanding the nature and conditions of moral responsibility. The other important development is found in recent compatibilist accoun…Read more
  •  190
    In the third and final part of his A Theory of Determinism (TD) Ted Honderich addresses the fundamental question concerning “the consequences of determinism.” The critical question he aims to answer is what follows if determinism is true? This question is, of course, intimately bound up with the problem of free will and, in particular, with the question of whether or not the truth of determinism is compatible or incompatible with the sort of freedom required for moral responsibility. It is Honde…Read more
  •  150
    Compatibilist fatalism
    In A. van den Beld (ed.), Moral Responsibility and Ontology, Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 199--218. 2000.
    Compatibilists argue, famously, that it is a simple incompatibilist confusion to suppose that determinism implies fatalism. Incompatibilists argue, on the contrary, that determinism implies fatalism, and thus cannot be consistent with the necessary conditions of moral responsibility. Despite their differences, however, both parties are agreed on one important matter: the refutation of fatalism is essential to the success of the compatibilist strategy. In this paper I argue that compatibilism req…Read more
  •  147
    “Butler’s ‘Future State’ and Hume’s ‘Guide of Life’”,
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (4): 425-448. 2004.
    : In this paper I argue that Hume's famous discussion of probability and induction, as originally presented in the Treatise, is significantly motivated by irreligious objectives. A particular target of Hume's arguments is Joseph Butler's Analogy of Religion. In the Analogy Butler intends to persuade his readers of both the credibility and practical importance of the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments. The argument that he advances relies on probable reasoning and proceeds on t…Read more
  •  147
    “Hume’s Lengthy Digression": Free Will in the Treatise
    In Donald Ainslie & Annemarie Butler (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Hume's Treatise, . pp. 231-251. 2015.
    David Hume’s views on the subject of free will are among the most influential contributions to this long-disputed topic. Throughout the twentieth century, and into this century, Hume has been widely regarded as having presented the classic defense of the compatibilist position, the view that freedom and responsibility are consistent with determinism. Most of Hume’s core arguments on this issue are found in the Sections entitled “Of liberty and necessity,” first presented in Book 2 of A Treatise …Read more
  •  147
    'The supremacy of God' does not belong in the Constitution
    The Globe and Mail, June 11, 1999 100. forthcoming.
    The Preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms claims "Canada is grounded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God." This claim is hopelessly confused and it has no place in our constitution. This is true, moreover, whether you are a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Pantheist, an atheist, or someone who has never given one moment's thought to "the supremacy of God" -- much less "recognized" it
  •  145
    Hume's Treatise and Hobbes's the Elements of Law
    Journal of the History of Ideas 46 (1): 51. 1985.
    The central thesis of this paper is that the scope and structure of Hume's Treatise of Human Nature is modelled, or planned, after that of Hobbes's The Elements of Law and that in this respect there exists an important and unique relationship between these works. This relationship is of some importance for at least two reasons. First, it is indicative of the fundamental similarity between Hobbes's and Hume's project of the study of man. Second, and what is more important, by recognizing this rel…Read more
  •  136
    Practical reason and motivational scepticism
    In Heiner F. Klemme, Manfred Kühn & Dieter Schönecker (eds.), Moralische Motivation. Kant und die Alternativen., Felix Meiner Verlag. 2006.
    In her influential and challenging paper “Skepticism about Practical Reason” Christine Korsgaard sets out to refute an important strand of Humean scepticism as it concerns a Kantian understanding of practical reason.1 Korsgaard distinguishes two components of scepticism about practical reason. The first, which she refers to as content scepticism, argues that reason cannot of itself provide any “substantive guidance to choice and action” (SPR, 311). In its classical formulation, as stated by Hume…Read more
  •  134
    Smith on Moral Sentiment and Moral Luck
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 16 (1). 1999.
    Smith's views on moral luck have attracted little attention in the relevant contemporary literature on this subject.* More surprising, perhaps, the material in the secondary literature directly concerned with Smith's moral philosophy is rather thin on this aspect of his thought. In this paper my particular concern is to provide an interpretation and critical assessment of Smith on moral luck. I begin with a description of the basic features of Smith's position; then I criticize two particularly …Read more
  •  122
    Bernard Williams is widely recognized as belonging among the greatest and most influential moral philosophers of the twentieth-century – and arguably the greatest British moral philosopher of the late twentieth-century. His various contributions over a period of nearly half a century changed the course of the subject and challenged many of its deepest assumptions and prejudices. There are, nevertheless, a number of respects in which the interpretation of his work is neither easy nor straightforw…Read more
  •  119
    Hume's Legacy and the Idea of British Empiricism
    In Alan Bailey & Dan O'Brien (eds.), The Continuum Companion to Hume, Continuum. pp. 377. 2012.
    David Hume’s views on the subject of free will are among the most influential contributions to this long-disputed topic. Throughout the twentieth century, and into this century, Hume has been widely regarded as having presented the classic defense of the compatibilist position, the view that freedom and responsibility are consistent with determinism. Most of Hume’s core arguments on this issue are found in the sections entitled “Of liberty and necessity,” first presented in Book 2 of A Treatise …Read more
  •  104
    This collection provides a selection of the most essential contributions to the contemporary free will debate. Among the issues discussed and debated are skepticism and naturalism, alternate possibilities, the consequence argument, libertarian metaphysics, illusionism and revisionism, optimism and pessimism, neuroscience and free will, and experimental philosophy
  •  104
    In this book, Russell examines Hume's notion of free will and moral responsibility. It is widely held that Hume presents us with a classic statement of a compatibilist position--that freedom and responsibility can be reconciled with causation and, indeed, actually require it. Russell argues that this is a distortion of Hume's view, because it overlooks the crucial role of moral sentiment in Hume's picture of human nature. Hume was concerned to describe the regular mechanisms which generate moral…Read more
  •  104
    Hume’s Lucretian Mission: Is it Self-refuting?
    The Monist 90 (2): 182-199. 2007.
    Hume’s famous and influential contributions to the philosophy of religion pursue two broad themes that have deep links with his general sceptical and naturalistic commitments throughout his philosophy as a whole.1 The first is his sceptical critique of the philosophical arguments and doctrines of various (Christian) theological systems. The second is his naturalistic account of the origins and roots of religion in human nature. Taken together, these two themes serve to advance Hume’s “Lucretian …Read more
  •  100
    Throughout this paper my objective will be to establish and clarify Hume's original intentions in his discussion of causation in Book I of the Treatise. I will show that Hume's views on ontology, presented in Part IV of that book, shed light on his views on causation as presented in Part III. Further, I will argue that Hume's views on ontology account for the original motivation behind his two definitions of 2 cause. This relationship between Hume's ontology and his account of causation explains…Read more
  •  98
    Selective hard compatibilism
    In J. Campbell, M. O'Rourke & H. Silverstein (eds.), Action, Ethics and Responsibility: Topics in Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. 7, Mit Press. pp. 149-73. 2010.
    .... The strategy I have defended involves drawing a distinction between those who can and cannot legitimately hold an agent responsible in circumstances when the agent is being covertly controlled (e.g. through implantation processes). What is intuitively unacceptable, I maintain, is that an agent should be held responsible or subject to reactive attitudes that come from another agent who is covertly controlling or manipulating him. This places some limits on who is entitled to take up the…Read more
  •  96
    The Material World and Natural Religion in Humes Treatise
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 85 (3): 269-303. 2003.
    In the early eighteenth century context there was an intimate connection between problems concerning the existence of the material world and problems of natural religion. Two issues are of particular importance for understanding Hume’s irreligious intentions in the Treatise. First, if we are unable to establish that we know that the material world exists, then all arguments for the existence of God that presuppose knowledge of the material world (i.e. its beauty, order, design, etc.) are placed …Read more
  •  72
    The philosophical debate about free will and responsibility has been of great importance throughout the history of philosophy. In modern times this debate has received an enormous resurgence of interest and the contribution in 1962 by P.F. Strawson with the publication of his essay "Freedom and Resentment" has generated a wide range of discussion and criticism in the philosophical community and beyond. The debate is of central importance to recent developments in the free will literature and has…Read more