Reason, Voluntariness, and Moral Responsibility
This chapter argues that the standard ‘voluntariness-based model of action’, according to which actions are performed on the basis of some prior pro-attitude towards performing the action, should be rejected. It argues that the model leads to a view of action that does not adequately accommodate a notion of self-determination capable of capturing our intuitions about moral responsibility. We need instead to accept a ‘practical reason-based theory of action’ according to which intentional action is not any expression of prior motivation, but rather a special mode of exercising rationality in its own right. This practical mode of exercising rationality is found not in voluntary action alone, but also in non-voluntary intention-formation. This view allows for freedom of agency to characterize not just voluntary action based on a prior decision or intention to act, but also the decision or intention itself.
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