|Consciousness and Moral Responsibility|
By Neil Levy
There has been a lot of debate in recent years focusing on the relationship between consciousness and moral responsibility. Some of this debate has been spurred by work in neuroscience and in social psychology, which allegedly shows that we lack ‘conscious will’: we are not conscious of the volitions that actually cause our actions. This work has been taken by some neuroscientists to threaten moral responsibility: “We do not hold people responsible for actions performed unconsciously, without the possibility of conscious control”, Libet claims. On the other hand, and quite independently of concerns over these alleged threats, a number of philosophers have recently argued that consciousness is not needed for moral responsibility at all: that we can be morally responsible for actions while unconscious of the reasons for which we act.