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Semicompatibilist Options: Essays in Defense of an Actual-Sequence Approach to Freedom and Responsibility


Semicompatibilism is the view that the freedom required for moral responsibility is compatible with causal determinism even if the freedom to do otherwise is not. I address five main objections to semicompatibilism in my thesis, defending the view against all charges. Because the view is a compatibilist one, it is targeted by objections to compatibilism itself. I focus on two sets of objections: the manipulation objection and two objections from luck. I argue that compatibilist views are safe from both sets of objections. I then consider two objections that target semicompatibilism in particular. The first challenges the view’s distinctiveness, claiming that the dispute between semicompatibilists and traditional compatibilists is merely verbal. The second objection challenges proponents of semicompatibilism to provide an adequate account of moral responsibility for omissions. In addressing each objection, I aim not only to defend semicompatibilism but also to clarify the nature of moral responsibility itself. In particular, I develop and defend three novel views: 1) that one's history can affect the degree to which one is morally responsible, 2) that indeterminacy is no gain to the control necessary for moral responsibility, and 3) that the requirements on moral responsibility for actions and omissions are symmetrical.

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