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Wolf, Susan, and . Asymmetrical freedom

1980, Journal of Philosophy 77(3): 151-166.

Diversifying Syllabi: Thesis: interesting and sophisticated position compatibilist position in the debate about free will and determinism. Slogan: To be free is to be determined by the Good. The claim is that if we do the right thing for the right reasons, then we are free – in the sense that is required by moral responsibility – even if we are determined. But if we do the wrong thing, then we are free and morally responsible only if we are not determined (i.e. if we could have done otherwise).

Comment: This text offers an interesting discussion of the issue of free will and determinism, and its relation to moral responsibility. It is best used in teaching metaphysics and moral philosophy classes on those topics. It offers some review of the debate, but is not general enough to be used as an introduction. It can also be used in more specific classes in ethics, focusing on moral luck or blameworthiness.