The Controlling and Cognitive Conditions of Moral Responsibility from Mûllā Ṣâdrā’s viewpoint in his Transcendent Philosophy and the Views of “the True Self” and “the Normative Desert”

Document Type : Scientific-research


Associate Professor, Department of Theology, Payam Noor University, Tehran, Iran (corresponding author)


Using a descriptive-analytical method, this paper explains the psychological conditions of moral responsibility, analyzes Mûllā Ṣâdrā’s viewpoint in this regard, and expresses its similarities with the views of some contemporary compatibilists. The conditions of moral responsibility can be divided into two kins: 1. the cognitive conditions and 2. the controlling conditions, which include: a) the power and ability, and b) the will and freewill. In his emphasizing on the cognitive and controlling conditions of considering the agent as responsible, Mûllā Ṣâdrā uses both rational and philosophical principles and the religious texts such as the Qur’an and Hadith. By expressing the condition of mental maturity and health for the responsible agent, Mûllā Ṣâdrā has emphasized on the normative characteristics needed for responsibility, and his viewpoint is similar to Frankfurt’s view of “the true self” and Fischer’s and Wolff’s views of “normative desert”. Also, based on the foundations of Transcendent Philosophy, we should talk about the degrees of having normative desert, based on which responsibility will be a graded thing, and its scope, intensity and weakness will be different in human beings. Thus, the responsibility of human beings is not the same, and every human being has a moral responsibility according to his existential degree and his abilities and capacities.


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