Moral Responsibility and Jointly Determined Consequences

  • Alexander BrownEmail author
Part of the Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy book series (LOET, volume 27)


In Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility, John Fischer and Mark Ravizza argue against incompatibilist principles of moral responsibility and offer a compatibilist account of moral responsibility. The book has sparked much discussion and criticism. In this article I point out a significant flaw in Fischer and Ravizza’s negative arguments against the incompatibilist Principle of the Transfer of Non-Responsibility. I also criticise their positive argument that moral responsibility for consequences depends on action-responsiveness. In the former case I argue that their putative counterexamples against Transfer NR and Transfer NR* are underdescribed but once fully described depend upon consequence-particulars and not consequence-universals as they claim. In the latter case I argue that their account is unable to cope with quite ordinary cases of jointly determined consequences.


Moral Responsibility Internal Mechanism Joint Enterprise Corporate Entity Joint Responsibility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Fischer, John, and Ravizza, Mark. 1998. Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Fischer, John, and Ravizza, Mark. 2000. “Replies.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61:467–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Frankfurt, Harry. 1969. “Alternative Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.” Journal of Philosophy 66:829–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Frankfurt, Harry. 1971. “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.” Journal of Philosophy 68:5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Frankfurt, Harry. 1987. “Identification and Wholeheartedness.” In Responsibility, Character, and the Emotions: New Essay in Moral Psychology, edited by Ferdinand Schoeman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 27–45.Google Scholar
  6. Ginet, Carl. 2006. “Working with Fischer and Ravizza’s Account of Moral Responsibility.” Journal of Ethics 10:229–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Glannon, Walter. 1997. “Sensitivity and Responsibility for Consequences.” Philosophical Studies 87:223–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grann, David. 2009. “Trial by Fire: Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man?” In The New Yorker, September 7. Available at:, last accessed July 1, 2011.
  9. Judisch, Neal. 2007. “Reasons-Responsive Compatibilism and the Consequences of Belief.” The Journal of Ethics 11:357–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Levy, Neil. 2002. “Excusing Responsibility for the Inevitable.” Philosophical Studies 111:43–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McKenna, Michael. 2008. “Saying Good-Bye to the Direct Argument the Right Way.” Philosophical Review 117:349–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Stump, Eleonore. 2000. “Review: The Direct Argument for Incompatibilism.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61:459–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Political, Social and International Studies, University of East AngliaNorwichUK

Personalised recommendations