"When we regard a man as morally responsible for an act, we regard him as a legitimate object of moral praise or blame in respect of it. But it seems plain that a man cannot be a legitimate object of moral praise or blame for an act unless in willing the act he is in some important sense a ‘free’ agent. Evidently free will in some sense, therefore, is a precondition of moral responsibility."
C. Arthur Campbell
(1897-1973) Glasgow University Professor of Logic and Rhetoric (1938-61), Dean of Faculties (1964-67)
In Defence of Free Will, 1967
Bookmark and Share  
Reader comments about this quote:
All people are responsible for their actions whether moral or not.Free Will is a precondition of all responsibility (in my opinion) for without Free Will,there is only action born of coercion and I don't believe that people should be held 100% accountable for their actions performed out of coercion but I agree that Free Will is a precondition of Responsibility,moral or not.
 -- Me Again     
    I like it. It then follows that the morally irresponsible reject 'free' agency in favor of compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny (inclusive of theft of the noble laborer's fruits, theft by deception [a fiat system], etc.) limited religious expression, torture for information, etc.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Unless a man is given the natural ability to make a choice, he cannot justifiably be condemned for his vice or praised for his virtue. As Madison says in Federalist 51. "if men were angels, no government would be necessary." John Adams said that our Constitutional Republic was made for a righteous and a moral people and is unsuitable for any other. Why? Because the criminal's intent is to break law. Adding more laws to curb the criminal's desire for committing crime will do nothing but add to the list of crimes he may commit. Detainment, in the form of jails and prisons, were to be places wherein criminals would change their nature to no longer break laws. The Greeks defined good and evil largely in terms of knowledge and ignorance, and when a person was to have committed a crime against the polis or another individual they were sent to a mandatory schooling session in order to "educate" the person back into order. There must be an inner self-governing light within each individual to operate within a free society, else government corruption and tyranny expand to withdraw the ability of acting in individual liberty to the masses in order to curb the minority.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
    Well explained. There is no Freedom without Responsibility, and no Virtue without Free Will.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    When a man is not free to be greedy with the proceeds of his own labor, he is not free to be altruistic with them either. In essence, the government robs men of the opportunity to be charitable when it taxes money away from them for "social justice" programs. Every incremental piece of freedom that is taken away from you makes you less of a free moral agent with the ability to choose to do good or evil.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    Rate this quote!
    How many stars?

    What do YOU think?
    Your name:
    Your town:

    More Quotations
    Get a Quote-A-Day! Free!
    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box.
    RSS Subscribe
    Quotes & Quotations - Send This Quote to a Friend

    © 1998-2024 Liberty-Tree.ca