The Irrelevance of Free Will and Moral Responsibility


Lucas Peters

Document Type


Publication Date



In the philosophical community, there has been longstanding debate over whether or not humans have free will. Hard determinists argue that the truth of determinism makes free will impossible, and as such humans are not morally responsible for their own actions. Compatibilists, on the other hand argue that humans can have free will even if determinism is true, and as such they are morally responsible for their own actions. I will argue, however, that neither side is right, and that the very concept of ‘free will’ is meaningless. By analyzing the proposed reactive attitudes of hard determinists and compatibilists, I plan to show that the way we react to people’s actions are unaffected by the existence of free will. As such, contrary to popular philosophical opinion, the existence (or lack thereof) of free will has no effect on the way we act, and as such the very concept is meaningless.

Faculty Mentor

Erin Flynn

This document is currently not available here.