Mario De Caro, Massimo Marraffa

Freedom, Responsibility, and Retributivism

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


In his article Caruana argues that if the neuroscientific insights regarding the processes underlying human action were made available, people will cease to see each other as morally responsible, thus creating a troubling quandary for our legal systems. We reconstruct the argument on which this reasoning is based and argue three claims against it: (i) that the empirical studies on folk intuitions about freedom, determinism and responsibility did not make it clear if the folk is naturally incompatibilist or compatibilist; (ii) that on theoretical and empirical grounds one should doubt that the dissemination of the (supposed) evidence for determinism would undermine our ordinary practice of responsibility attribution; (iii) that the penal systems embodying the ideal of justice need not to necessarily rest on a purely retributivist conception of punishment.

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