Manipulated Agents: A Window to Moral Responsibility

ISBN : 9780190927967

Alfred R. Mele
192 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
May 2019
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What bearing do our histories-our influences, what we have done and what has happened to us-have on our responsibility for the actions we take or consider in the present? This is the question at the center of Alfred R. Mele's examination of moral responsibility, including the moral responsibility of manipulated agents. Departing from other scholars writing on free will and moral responsibility, Mele reflects on a wide range of thought experiments that feature agents who have been manipulated or designed in ways which directly affect their actions. Although such thought experiments are often used by philosophers to illustrate significant features of moral responsibility, little attention has been paid to ways in which various details make a difference. In Manipulated Agents, Mele addresses this gap, arguing that such vignettes have the potential to unlock an understanding of moral responsibility that takes an agent's history into account when assigning moral praise or blame. In his analysis of these thought experiments, Mele presents a highly accessible, compelling defense of a "history-sensitive" conception of moral responsibility that has implications for free will.


Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Internalism and Externalism
Chapter 3. Instant Agents, Minutelings, and Radical Reversals
Chapter 4. Must Compatibilists Be Internalists?
Chapter 5. Bullet Biting and Beyond
Chapter 6. Wrapping Things Up
Appendix: Experimental Philosophy

About the author: 

Alfred R. Mele is the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. He is the author of ten previous OUP books and over 200 articles and an editor of six OUP books. He is past director of two multi-million dollar, interdisciplinary projects: the Big Questions in Free Will project (2010-13) and the Philosophy and Science of Self-Control project (2014-17).

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