Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Philosophy

Advisor

Warren Herold

Committee Member

Eric Funkhouser

Second Committee Member

Richard Lee

Keywords

Philosophy, Religion, Theology

Abstract

In order to solve the apparent incompatibility between moral responsibility and determinism, it is necessary to understand moral responsibility in terms of the function it plays within moral systems, which is highly similar to the role played by laws within judicial systems. By showing that a conception of moral responsibility based upon desert is metaphysically untenable, a function-based conception will be showed to be much more likely. Furthermore, by considering why the desert-based conception has proven so resilient, insight into the moral responsibility/determinism debate may be possible. Lastly, this paper considers whether the problems with this conception can be solved, and if not, what kinds of problems would need to be avoided in considered alternate conceptions.

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