Reflection and Responsibility
DOI link for Reflection and Responsibility
Reflection and Responsibility book
One might grant to the Stoics that causal determinism does not entail full external determination, but insist that, although moral responsibility requires this freedom from external determination, this freedom is not enough. It may be felt that the theory designed by Chrysippus to meet the internality requirement does not provide enough ground for a complete theory of moral responsibility. In particular, the incompatibilist may complain that if an action and its underlying psychology are necessitated at all (let alone by mere external factors), the agent could not have done otherwise in a certain sense of the capacity, relevant for responsibility. To be more precise, the version of the objection that will be discussed in this chapter states that if it was necessitated that one G-ed at t, one lacked at t the dual capacity of either G-ing at t or not G-ing at t,1 and unless one did have this capacity one cannot be held responsible for the action actually performed. The problem to be discussed, then, is whether this specific dual capacity is indeed relevant for responsibility, as alleged by the incompatibilist. According to the Stoics it is not, and the aim of the present chapter is twofold: (a) to study a Stoic theory where an argument is given against its relevance for moral responsibility – a theory reported by Alexander of Aphrodisias in DF 13 and Nemesius of Emesa in N 35; and (b) to bring out a strong similarity between this argument and a prominent compatibilist argument developed in recent times by Harry Frankfurt. This conceptual proximity is of both historical and philosophical interest. It should lead us to reconsider the place that has been given to the Stoics not only in the history of compatibilism, but also in the current philosophical debate on the nature of responsibility. I undertake the study of the theory in sections 4.1 to 4.4. The parallel with Frankfurt is drawn in section 4.5.