Basic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free Will addresses the issue of whether we can make sense of the widespread conviction that we are morally responsible beings. It focuses on the claim that we deserve to be blamed and punished for our immoral actions, and how this claim can be justified given the philosophical and scientific reasons to believe that we lack the sort of free will required for this sort of desert.
Contributions to the book distinguish between, and explore, two clusters of questions. The first asks what it is to deserve to be harmed or benefitted. What are the bases for desert - actions, good character, bad character, the omission of good character traits? The second cluster explores the disagreement between compatabilists and incompatibilists surrounding the nature of desert. Do we deserve to be harmed, benefitted, or judged, even if we lack the ability to act differently, and if we do not, what effect does this have on our everyday actions?
Taken in full, this book sheds light on the notion of desert implicated in our practice of holding each other morally responsible. This book was originally published as a special issue of Philosophical Explorations.
Maureen Sie is professor of philosophical anthropology on behalf of the Socrates Foundation, at the Institute of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University and associate professor of Meta-ethics and Moral Psychology at the department of Philosophy, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her research focuses on free will and moral responsibility, the philosophy of action (especially the role of deliberation and/or awareness), moral psychology, and meta-ethics.
Derk Pereboom is the Susan Sage Professor of Philosophy at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA. His research areas are free will and moral responsibility, philosophy of the mind, the history of modern philosophy, with a particular focus on Kant, and the philosophy of religion.