Freedom within Reason by Susan Wolf download in pdf, ePub, iPad
It is a distinctive approach to free will and moral responsibility, which deserves to be taken seriously. Wolf's perspective on the issues is original. Our actions are governed by our desires. On this view, a person is responsible when she can can use reason to determine her values.
Wolf sees this view as an improvement over the default compatibilist account of freedom, albeit an inadequate one. Although the theories that are surveyed are familiar, the way in which they are sorted is illuminating.
So while agreeing that values are desires which reside deep within a person, Wolf thinks no adequate account of free will has been given in the above story. Ostensibly, however, the Reason View supports the idea of praise and blame, and any meta-ethical stance that upends this notion seems completely incompatible with the Reason View. It is an important book that deserves a very wide audience.
When we see that a person whose values are vile and vicious such as a Nazi had those values forcibly inculcated in them, we absolve them of blame. Wolf is sensitive to this objection but still maintains that nihilism is not strictly incompatible with the Reason View. While nihilism considerably alters our traditional sense of what it means to be responsible, Wolf nevertheless claims that it is at least somewhat compatible with the Reason View.
In particular, it seems to be unable to handle cases where a person is not in control of their own desires. Therefore, an act is free just in case it is governed by a value which it itself determined by reason. Wolf develops her account by attempting to avoid the problems of libertarianism, but also the problems of a typical compatibilist account of free will.