Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Schauber


In 1994, Galen Strawson published his paper, “The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility”. In this paper, Strawson offers an argument in which he claims to show the impossibility of moral responsibility, regardless of whether or not the thesis of determinism is true; he calls this argument the ‘Basic Argument’ for the impossibility of moral responsibility. A summarized version of the argument runs: (1) Nothing can be causa sui—i.e., self-caused. (2) In order to be morally responsible, one would have to be causa sui. (3) Therefore, moral responsibility is impossible.1 The main part of this paper (section III) will be devoted to challenging the second premise of the Basic Argument, and by extension, to challenging its conclusion.

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