Freedom and Responsibility in Context

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Freedom and Responsibility in Context argues for a contextualist account of freedom and moral responsibility. According to this view, instances of ‘freedom and ‘moral responsibility’ have different contents in different contexts of use. Much has been written on the issue of epistemological contextualism, but the situation is markedly different when it comes to ‘free’ and ‘morally responsible’. Here, the influence of contextualism is negligible. This book aims to challenge the largely unarticulated orthodoxy of invariantism, by arguing that contextualism is crucial to an understanding of both freedom and moral responsibility.
The route to contextualism regarding freedom and moral responsibility focuses upon their respective control conditions. Abilities are argued to be central to an understanding of the control required for freedom and moral responsibility. A unified, ability analysis of control is developed, which supports the thesis that attributions of freedom and moral responsibility are context dependent. The resulting contextualism offers a rapprochement of compatibilism and incompatibilism. By going beyond the false dichotomy of invariant compatibilism and invariant incompatibilism, it is argued that both positions can be given their due, since there is no ‘right’ answer to the question of whether or not determinism undermines freedom and moral responsibility.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Freedom, Moral responsibility, Contextualism, Abilities, Control


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