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Hi Justin: Thanks for the great post and also for the kind words about my new book! You correctly point out that suggestions are less forceful than demands. However, the view I propose allows for more than mere suggestion. In my exchange with Dana Nelkin in Science, Religion, and Culture, which was on Flickers last month, I develop this point with respect to the specific case of ought judgments that apply in friendship. More generally, I want to argue that the demands of moral obligation have a near functional equivalent in (i) ought claims of axiological recommendation; (ii) the appropriateness of protest in situations in which there is a threat that such an ought claim will not be honored; (iii) in some cases, appropriateness of the kinds of forward-looking invasive measures such as incapacitation and rehabilitation that the skeptical view allows, and of forewarning of such measures. You suggest that oughts of specific agent demand are more motivational than oughts of axiological recommendation. But maybe both kinds of ought generate motivation apart from protest and sanctions only when the agent is committed to act accordingly. On Craig’s point about possibility, in the book I argue that there is a ‘can’ requirement on oughts of axiological recommendation. I think that for such claim to be appropriately directed toward an agent, it must at least be epistemically open that the agent will in fact come to act accordingly.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I certainly would not suggest that you believe that the world is just, when you consciously consider it; you are a thoughtful and decent person who recognizes that innocent people are often wronged (and above all, you clearly recognize that in regard to a victim of rape). Belief in a just world is the subject of extensive psychological research, led by researchers such as Melvin Lerner; but the belief was also recognized by Bernard Williams, particularly in SHAME AND NECESSITY. We tend to believe (not consciously) that good will triumph, that the virtuous person is more likely to find happiness, that bad things do not happen to good people; this is – Lerner claims – a generally useful belief, that helps us move forward with our efforts, even if the belief is in fact false. Thus it seems obvious to us that if one OUGHT to do something, then one must be capable of doing it; otherwise the world is unjust. But in fact the world is not just, and there are times when people have genuine obligations that they CANNOT meet, perhaps because they have serious moral flaws that prevent them from doing what they ought to do (since people are not self-made, they don’t deserve blame for their flaws or for failing to meet their obligations, but that goes off on another vexed issue). So (in the example) I look back with great regret on cases when I did something terrible and betrayed my friends due to my own profoundly flawed character, and failed to meet a genuine obligation of loyalty to my friends, while still recognizing that given who I was in the world in which I lived I could not have acted otherwise, and could not have met my obligation. Where do we reach a point that we say: I did not have an obligation, because it was far beyond my capacities to act effectively? I think we say that of Leroy, and of you (assuming you are not really Superman in disguise) when you see an enormous jetliner plunging to its doom, and of each of us when we see a tsunami approaching a populated shore; this is thorny question, and I think my answer would be along the lines that Ryan suggests; but in any case, that problem seems a plague on everyone’s house.

Justin, does Derk Pereboom give a rephrasing of the axiological meaning of 'ought' in ordinary English anywhere in his writings? If it can be rephrased as something like 'it would be ideal if...' or even 'it is highly recommended and indeed expected that...' or anything else that does not make reference to adherence to or violation of moral precepts per se, then I think it should be clear that morality as traditionally understood is missing from the axiological definition. Do you agree or am I misunderstanding something? Just calling something 'morality' does not make it morality, at least as most ordinary people would understand that term. If I start calling a cat a 'dog' it does not make it a dog.

Justin Caouette: "Free will skeptics claim that free will is incompatible with determinism."

The whole issue is hinged on two points.
One, what is determinism?
Two, why is determinism incompatible with free-will?

The determinism vs indeterminism issue is a physics issue, especially about the quantum mechanism. The article ( ) gives a detailed description on this issue.

Thanks, Justin. Fair enough. I'll take that the specific agent demands angle is particularly important in your disagreement with Pereboom. But I understood the project to be about FW skeptics, not just Pereboom-type FW skeptics. Such a skeptic could think that obligations are not to be taken as demands. Such a skeptic could grant that demands are unfair if unsatisfiable, and yet deny that this means we are never obligated. Such a skeptic could hold that obligations should not be understood as demands, and it is unclear to me why our conception of morality would suffer terribly as a result.

If I understand you correctly, you're view is that there is a lot to moral obligation proper that would be lost if we were unable to account for them as demands. If that's right, then the disagreement rests on how much of obligation must be demand-like. Does that seem right? If so, you haven't yet said much for why this is the case. That's obviously fine -- every post can't contain everything -- I'm just registering what I take to be a viable position sans further argument.

(I should also emphasize I'm not a FW skeptic, myself. But I am very sympathetic to the idea that obligation is not to be understood principally in terms of demands.)

Derk, thanks so much for the reply! Your feedback is crucial to helping me understand how to make sense of the ‘ought’ of axiological recommendation. I’ll be sure to take a closer look at your recent reply to Dana Nelkin. On a more personal note: I must say that writing a dissertation that incorporates a lot of your work has been very challenging. Apart from the argumentation, the rate at which you are responding to your critics is impressive. I started the diss in 2013 and was responding to your 2001. I then had to revise some of what I was saying in light of your (2014) and now will likely have to revise further as you begin to respond to your critics. Given that I am looking to defend this summer I suggest you take a *well-deserved* vacation (pun intended), say next week? Anyway, it’s been a pleasure analyzing your work and I’ll be sure to send over the book review of your (2014) as soon as I finish it for (PIR) in the coming months. Before closing I’d like to offer just a quick reply to some of what you said.

First, I definitely have to think more about your suggestion re: both ‘oughts’ generating motivation *only* when the agent is committed to act accordingly. This seems to commit one to a view of motivation that seems weird to me, at least at first glance. I think of motivation as happening before one has committed to act rather than after one has already committed. If a person is already committed to doing A, then in what way is the obligation or axiological ‘ought’ doing the work to motivate one to do A, or more precisely, how do moral considerations motivate one to decide to do A, if one has already committed to do A? But, like I said, I’d have to give this much more thought.

Regarding your argument for the general point about the near functional equivalence between the demands of moral obligation and (i)-(iii) I’m a bit skeptical as you would imagine. I have a bunch of concerns but I’ll only raise a few here as I am getting bogged down prepping for the start of a new semester in Calgary. The first concern is that if it is as closely related as you suggest, then it seems like desert *might* be conceptually connected to the axiological recommendation (and practices connected to (ii) and (iii) given that it is connected to moral obligation (or so I argue). You’d certainly want to resist this line. But, I’m thinking that once you disassociate the axiological ‘ought’ from desert you lose the appropriateness of the practices that are connected to the ‘ought’ in question (and this seems to loosen the connection. I have arguments for this but the details would need to be cashed out for it to make sense so I’ll save the details for a later date.

The second concerns (ii): given that we are epistemically closed to whether or not an axiological ‘ought’ claim will be adhered to it seems that there will *always* be a threat that such a claim will not be honored. If this is true, then I’m concerned that we open the flood gates to justifying lots of moral protest (more than many would be okay with anyway) and possibly justify a deeply paternalistic course of action to those who *might* be affected if we were to fail to adhere to the axiological recommendation. Here, I’m thinking of the state or the elite in society now being justified to limit the freedom of folks from lower classes on grounds that folks from lower-socio economic backgrounds are more likely to commit crimes (and assuming that some crimes are connected to the ‘ought’ axiological recommendation), or something like that.

Lastly, re: your point about the ‘can’ requirement of axiological recommendation. This point seems to be similar to the point Thomas made. But I worry, isn’t it epistemically open that Leroy could save the drowning man in my example? If so, then it turns out that he ought to save the drowning man. This is an unintuitive result. Or , if not, if I modified the example I think I could accommodate it. Let’s just assume that the Leroy’s condition is not permanent. That at any moment he could regain feeling and would be able to jump in and save him and even that doctor’s give him a 50% chance of suddenly regaining the feeling in his legs at some point in his life. So, even though he can’t save the man right at this moment he could save him, if he regained feeling. Thus, since it is epistemically open as to whether or not he will regain feeling it seems he can save the man in some weaker compatbilist sense. Anyway, this is all quick and fast. I just wanted to give you a peek at *some* of my concerns. Thanks again for chiming in!

Ryan, I'll be posting on agency incompatibilism later this month and I think our discussion will lend itself nicely to that debate.

Roger, I'll be sure to take the time to respond to your concerns in detail (at some point soon). I just want to get some work work done (as well as get a new post up) before taking the time to respond to all comments, especially your insightful one! Thanks for the thoughtful reply! You have given me much to think about.


A Lesson in Ancient History: The term "bypassing" was in fact introduced by Al Mele! So is it his super-cool term. But then Eddy Nahmias did important experimental work testing the hypothesis that many of the folk think of causal determination as implying bypassing.

Kudos to both Al and Eddy!

Bruce, thanks so much for the back and forth! The manner in which you describe your cases is crystal clear and the psychological research you reference is helpful for me in thinking about these "thorny" questions, as you describe them. They are quite thorny indeed!


This stuff is very nuanced, and I only have the time/energy to be brief. You state that oughts are connected with demands in a certain way; I agree, but in what specific way?

Perhaps we can make an analogy between the situation with respect to blameworthiness and blame. Someone can be blameworthy, and yet it be inappropriate (all things considered) for a particular individual to blame him. This could be because it would be hypocritical of the individual to blame him. Thus, blameworthiness can be analytically prized apart from blame (and certainly its expression), even though certain connections remain in place.

Why not say something analogous w.r.t. the relationship between ought and demand? (This is just an idea off the top of my head.) Why not say that when S ought to X, S has sufficient reason to X. But when another individual T knows that S cannot do X, it would be inappropriate for T to *demand* that S do X. Why can't we understand the relationship between ought and demand in an analogous way to the way in which we might conceptualize the relationship between blameworthiness and blame--respecting the reticulate conceptual terrain?

Matt, thanks for the reply. In my diss I focus on Pereboom-type skeptics (often times Pereboom himself) though I do incorporate the work of others. Admittedly, I opened the door to all skeptics in this post to gauge how folks would respond to obligation skepticism.

Also, you're correct when you say "If I understand you correctly, you're view is that there is a lot to moral obligation proper that would be lost if we were unable to account for them as demands. If that's right, then the disagreement rests on how much of obligation must be demand-like. Does that seem right?" SO yes.

And you are also correct to say I haven't yet given a thorough argument for why that is. Suffice to say that I've offered a bit in the post (calling into question the 'ought' that remains by comparing it to a suggestion or a hope and utilizing the Van Gough example to point to a possible problem) and also in some of my responses to those pressing me a bit. SO I have at least suggested why the loss of obligation might be worrisome as Craig and Peter seemed to have picked up on. Now, I raise many more concerns in my work but many of those arguments rely on lots of background and analysis of other concepts that I can't get into here due to time constraints. So, point well taken. And thanks again for chiming in and forcing me to be more clear on what the motivations are for my project.

Excellent, thanks Justin, I look forward to it. Really enjoying the discussion so far, your month is off to an excellent start!

Justin, thanks, it has been a great discussion; it's going to be tough following act one during the rest of your month. John, thanks for the correction: Al has introduced so many "super-cool" terms and distinctions and cases I should have suspected him from the start; between you and Al, we could launch a new philosophical lexicon, exclusively for super-cool terms (such as "semi-compatibilism," "reasons-responsiveness," "guidance control" and "metaphysical megalomania"). You're right, Eddy has done some neat things with it.

John and Justin,

Regarding John's suggestion of understanding the relationship between ought and demand in a way analogous to the relationship between ought and blame, my impression is that there might be an analogy in that someone who is behaving immorally perhaps ought not to demand that others don't behave as he does (though I think the matter is debatable), but I don't get the impression that an analogy holds in cases in which the person can't do otherwise.

For example, in John's original scenario, I think it's (generally, perhaps assuming the person making the demand is not behaving similarly immorally, etc.) proper to demand that S chooses to look around to make sure there aren't any animals toward the road, etc. - a choice S can make.

On the other hand, it would be improper to demand that S actually look around, etc. - which S can't do. But as I mentioned, in my assessment he ought to make the choice (i.e., he has a moral obligation to make that choice), but it's not the case he ought to succeed, so it seems to me that OIC still escapes this kind of challenge (though I'm not sure it escapes all other challenges).


You're right, how we define those concepts is very important. I've gone over the relevant details (see below) and that post provides links to the relevant literature. Feel free to email me with any other foundational questions and I'd be happy to point you in the right direction.

John, thanks for your reply, I know your busy!

I agree, this stuff is all very, very nuanced.

A brief (sorta) response before churning out another post.

You say: "You state that oughts are connected with demands in a certain way; I agree, but in what specific way?"

I take the claim that "X is morally obligated to A" to mean that morality requires or *demands* that X do A. So, the moral 'ought', on my view, *is* a demand of morality. There are certainly other 'oughts' such as ideal 'oughts' that take the form "There ought to be no racism in the world" which are not demands of any agents but more like a description of what the best world would be. But those 'oughts' don't seem to be the 'oughts' invoked by OIC, at least not to my ears. To see the difference consider two statements: (1) - "Scientists and doctors ought to find a cure for cancer" and (2) - Dr. Fischer ought to cure cancer”. For me, the ‘ought’ invoked in (1) does not imply ‘can’ whereas the ‘ought’ implied in (2) does. Now, if what I mean by the ‘ought’ in (2) is that it would be nice or ideal if Dr. Fischer cured cancer then I agree that the ‘ought’ need not invoke alternative possibilities but my sense is that when we say specific things like “Joel should not have made fun of Lebron” what we are saying is that at time T when Joel had it open to him to make fun of Lebron (or not) morality *demanded* that he refrain (plug in your favored ethical theory here). And, if Joel couldn’t refrain, it just sounds odd to me to think that morality should demand courses of actions for agents that they cannot perform. So maybe we do away with such “demands” and appeal to a strictly ideal ‘ought’ which is Pereboom’s suggestion. I’m just trying to figure out what that would mean for our moral psychology. My feeling is that we lose a lot when we lose specific agent demands (moral obligations) though Derk thinks that both ‘oughts’ have “near functional equivalence”. Sorry, this is quick and fast I hope I made sense.

You say: "Why not say that when S ought to X, S has sufficient reason to X"

Well, because if we assume determinism I'm not convinced that S *has* sufficient reason to X. Just because there exists an objective reason to X it doesn't follow that S *has* that reason, or at least it's not apparent to me that we ought to think of it that way. There's lots to say here but I promised to be brief (I’m failing thus far and am worthy of blame for it – even from others who are not brief in their comments). 

You say: "Someone can be blameworthy, and yet it be inappropriate (all things considered) for a particular individual to blame him. This could be because it would be hypocritical of the individual to blame him".

A few things; first, I'm not with RJ Wallace on his worries about hypocrisy. I think if an individual is blameworthy performing some act, A, then anyone in the community has standing to overtly blame them for performing A. One does not lose standing to blame just because one has partaken in similar immoral acts themselves. Though I am sympathetic to overt blame and moral responsibility (or blameworthiness) coming apart.

Lastly, you say: "Why can't we understand the relationship between ought and demand in an analogous way to the way in which we might conceptualize the relationship between blameworthiness and blame"

As I stated earlier, some 'oughts' simply are demands. So when we say that A ought to do X all we are saying is that morality demands that that agent perform X.

At the end of the day I think that we are at a stalemate and I’m not sure how to progress the conversation further re: OIC. Part of me thinks there should be some positive argument for OIC but given that there is not (only examples that show its intuitive nature) this seems to give weight to those who reject it, though I hope to develop such an argument in the future. On the other hand, since there is not, maybe you’re right (and Bruce and others) to think that OIC might be problematic. I recommend a very nice paper (forthcoming) by Clayton LittleJohn where he considers positive arguments for OIC and shows why they’re problematic. I think you would enjoy it. He has a thorough discussion of reasons in there as well. The paper is here:

Folks amenable to Xphi (and others) suggest that we have different intuitions about obligation and that’s the root of our disagreement. The more I think about this the more I think they might be right and this is a phenomena that plagues the debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists more generally. Moti Mizrahi just tested the intuitions of the folk and you might be happy to learn that the folk seem to agree with those (like yourself) who have rejected OIC. See here:

I think the study has some problems (and I have an error theory that speaks to this) and I suggested a more robust questionnaire to Moti recently. So, hopefully more work is done on this front sooner than later.

Thanks again, John, for participating. Your questions and comments have truly been helpful, not only for the chapter in my diss where I tackle this topic but also for the paper I’m presenting in February at the Central APA.

Oh, and sorry for the length of the response. I tend to ramble a bit in these forums. Hopefully, by the end of the month I will be better at being succinct.

Peter, sorry for the delay.

Pereboom doesn't offer too many details but he does discuss these axiological 'oughts' in his new book "Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life" (OUP 2014) as well as here:

He offers further discussion of moral concepts left in the wake of hard incompatibilism in his contribution to the volume I co-edited in late 2013. That piece is titled "Moral Responsibility without Desert". The link for the book is here:

It seems as though you're on board with me on this issue. I'd love to talk with you further about this in the future.


Everything you say seems reasonable to me. If I might highlight one more thing...

Let's grant that obligations are moral requirements. We should also grant that not all requirements are demands. I *think* it should be uncontroversial that demands are made by something, but in order to do so they must be person-like in some way. A demand seems to me a speech act, albeit of a fairly inclusive sort. Requirements of reason, in contrast, are not demanded by reason itself (except as metaphor).

So, there's a disagreement possible over whether obligations are demands or not. It has become quite fashionable, especially in work on agency, to take broadly contractualist approaches to ethics, and think of morality as consisting in interpersonal demands. On such a view, obligations are obviously demands. But it seems perfectly straightforward to think of obligations as (non-demand) requirements. There would still be an ought attached, and a weighty one, regardless of whether we do anything with the requirement (as in, demand that you meet it).

It remains open whether such a requirement would capture enough of what we want out of moral obligations. And it seems a viable (if ultimately incorrect) route to take.

Dear Justin,

Thanks for your very gracious engagement with my comments, and your thoughtful contributions.

Just a small point for now. You write, "... first, I'm not with RJ Wallace on his worries about hypocrisy. I think if an individual is blameworthy performing some act, A, then anyone in the community has standing to overtly blame them for performing A. One does not lose standing to blame just because one has partaken in similar immoral acts themselves."

Well, it is not just Wallace who has argued for this point, and I think many would be inclined to agree with it. Of course, it is important to distinguish "judging blameworthy" from "blaming", and both from expressing blame overtly. Right, anyone in the moral community can make the relevant judgments. But it is highly contentious to suppose that anyone, even someone who engages in the same behavior, has the moral standing to blame.

Analogously, as a parent, I have the moral standing to reprimand my young child for being rude in certain contexts. But it does not follow that anyone in the community may do so.

I can't help but note that a lot in your view depends on taking stands on issues that seem very contentious to me. But I do appreciate your characterization of the dialectical situation as a "stalemate"--that seems right to me. And I'm ok with that, since I think there are considerable virtues to my overall package of views--my version of Semicompatibilism. I'm ok with fighting to a stalemate in regard to a putatively problem with the view, given my holistic methodology.

Roger, thanks for your patience!

I haven't seen the movie (or the trailer) but I will likely watch it ( I may watch the trailer right now for the hell of it). It sounds like something I would watch. Anyway, I don't get the sense that no matter what the sniper does he does something wrong. There is a best that someone can do and that is what they ought to do. So, whatever that is in your scenario (that will depend on your ethical system) that's what the sniper should and that would be RIGHT in that scenario. The consequences might *seem* bad given the shitty options one might have, but I would want to say that the act is right if it’s the best one can do. And, if one is truly doing the best one can do, then it doesn’t seem “evil” to me, not necessarily anyway.

Notice, I can still say that the act is right and that the consequences of doing the right thing are unfortunate, or tragic, in your case for the boy or the sniper depending on how we’re evaluating the chain of events.

Now, re: the blame in this scenario that’s a different topic. Blame and obligations need not track on my view. I endorse a view that says one can be blameworthy for doing the right thing. For instance, cases where one performs the right act but had bad intent or something like that, I have a few examples I could get into but will choose to refrain. I think there is a difference between act evaluations and agent evaluations. Blameworthiness is an evaluation of an agent and obligation, right, and wrong are evaluations of acts.

You say: “(BTW, I say morality would be 'relative' because whether or not A is immoral would be relative to my situation. Wouldn't it? If I can't refrain from Aing, then it's not immoral for me to A. That sounds like the morality of A is relative to my situation. I.e., it sounds like morality is relative on this view.)”

I understand the relativist thesis to state (RT): there is no set of basic moral principles that is true or correct. But one need not endorse this to hold that wrong implies can. One could think wrong is failing a moral obligation and one is obligated to do the best one can. Where ‘best’ can be cashed out with a number of moral principles (maximize utility, embody the virtue at play for any particular scenario, whatever you like really). In scenarios that do not obligate agents to act in any given way (because, say, determinism) then we lose our ability to make deontic claims in this world. So, when you say “If I can't refrain from Aing, then it's not immoral for me to A. That sounds like the morality of A is relative to my situation.” I’d want to deny this. Just because that act is not wrong for you doesn’t mean that I have given up the claim that for those who can A (and can refrain from A’ing) that it would be wrong for one to do so. To use Haji’s terms, the evaluation that would be appropriate in the case where one can’t but A is that the act is “amoral”. Just as it would be for a robot if it killed a person, or an animal. I could still hold that the situation was bad and that if someone had the ability to refrain and decided against it, then that it would be wrong. Couldn’t I?

It seems that you want to say that if the facts about the situation are introduced as relevant to moral decision making, then the view that endorses such considerations as relevant is relativist. But, many, many theories take the facts at a given time to be pertinent to moral decision making and I have yet to hear folks say that such theories are doomed to relativism. This is not to say that they aren’t (though I believe most theories are not relativist and surely most who hold theory ethical view wouldn’t describe it as such). As an example consider hedonic act utilitarianism which says:

An act is right if and only if there is no other act the agent could have done instead that has a higher hedonic utility than it has. (Alternatively, an act is right iff its hedonic utility is at least as high as the hedonic utility of any other act the agent could have done instead.)

So, the right making features stay the same ALL THE TIME, this view does not seem relativist, or doesn’t seem to be on the face of it. Now, even if one endorses OIC the theory does not become relativistic because there is still an underlying principal grounding the theory whereas relativist theories deny that such a principle exists.

Lastly, you say: "Can a robot commit murder? If it can, then, if murder is necessarily immoral (isn't it?), then the robot can do something immoral."

I don't think the robot can "murder", sure robots can kill but I think there is an agency component to things like murder. Anyway, I don't think the robot is an agent which is why the robot can't do something immoral. Likewise, if a person can't but do one thing and assuming that they are not culpable for being in the position that forced them to have only one option, then they are not committing murder either, or anything "wrong" for that matter. Sure, kjilling an innocent person is bad but it's not murder unless one has desires and beliefs to kill and those beliefs and desires are different in kind from mere programming. However, I think determinism entails that we are programs in just the same way...

Anyway, I hope that clarifies my position a bit. I could expand but I think that it would take us too far astray from the original post.

Thanks again for the back and forth, your questions and comments have pushed me to think harder about this which is what my intent was in posting this.

Thanks, John! I have followed your work for quite some time and the pleasure is all mine. I was hoping to chat with you about this stuff so I *very much* appreciate you chiming in given the ongoing debate between you and Ish on this topic.

Your point is very well taken regarding the loose claim I made that *anyone* in the moral community has standing to blame another. That was a stretch and far too loose on my part. That said, I do believe that hypocrites do have such standing in many situations (for instance I have standing to tell my kids not to drink too much even though even though I have done that from time to time). And I didn't mean to come across as if Wallace was the only one saying that hypocrisy is a problem. Rather, he is the only one that I have read in the literature that has given the topic a clear focus (I'm sure there are others).

Anyway, thanks for making me clarify, and thanks again for the fruitful discussion!

Thanks for the response, Justin! I don't want to push things too far away from where you intended this post to go, so I won't push any further.

But thanks for spelling out your view a bit more. I disagree with a good bit of what you said, but that's not super important. I'm happy to get more insight on your view, here, so I can think more about this post and the others you'll write. Great job so far, I think!

Dear, John.

One final point (if I may),

I must have missed this quoted portion (below) of your last post. You say: "I can't help but note that A LOT in your view depends on taking stands on issues that seem VERY CONTENTIOUS to me." (emphasis mine)

Though I highly value your opinion I can't help but think that the emphasized word use was a bit harsh, no? If anything, I believe that giving up on OIC is very contentious just the same. :)

That said, I'm assuming you're referring to more than our disagreement on OIC given the above quote, thus, at this stage of my dissertation I would be indebted if you could expand a bit more (either through email or on here whenever you had the chance) given how much I value your take on this topic.

Thanks again!

Hi Roger. Thanks for the kind words!

We should chat further about the source of our disagreements in the future if you are pursuing research on this topic. Anyway, thanks for the discussion.


I didn't mean it to be "harsh"--and the rest of the paragraph should have softened it a bit! Sorry if it came off that way.

Yes, certainly giving up on OIC and adopting an "actual-sequence" approach to moral responsibility is contentious. I'd prefer the term "bold", but turnabout is fair play.

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