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The direct argument: a study about the conceptual relations between determinism and moral responsibility

Grant number: 19/12207-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2019
Effective date (End): October 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Metaphysics
Principal Investigator:Marco Antonio Caron Ruffino
Grantee:Gabriel de Andrade Pagnozzi Maruchi
Home Institution: Centro de Lógica, Epistemologia e História da Ciência (CLE). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


This project is a study proposal about the conceptual relations between the thesis of determinism and the concept of moral responsibility by means of the direct argument. According to its proponents, if the thesis of nomological determinism is true, then our actions are consequence of the distant past and the laws of nature. But nobody is morally responsible for the laws of nature, or for the distant past. Therefore, we are not morally responsible for the consequence of those things, i.e., our present actions. But is the direct argument really establishing the incompatibility of determinism and moral responsibility? To answer the former question, the study proposal will be divided in three parts. The first part concerns the validity of the direct argument, which is the problem of knowing whether the deductive rules used in the argument are valid. The second part focuses on the soundness of the argument. Suppose that the argument is valid; are the premises true? Finally, the third part is about the cogency of the argument, dealing with the objections which say that the direct argument is just an ignoratio elenchi. (AU)