I think it might be worthwhile to have a thread that explores this and see what benefits there are if any, of using the tool of compatibalist free will when determining who to hold responsible.
I think one aim of the justice system is to cause people to behave morally in circumstances where they otherwise would choose not to or put another way to provide a deterrent.
The law is designed to deter behaviour in certain types of circumstances only.
Take the example on the free will thread, where the bank robber gets me to hand over a note to the bank teller by threatening me with being shot if I don’t.
In this case we automatically think that the bank robber is the one we want to hold responsible but does it have anything to do with could do otherwise?
I don’t think so but it is to do with what each persons other potential options were.
In my case my other option was to dramatically increase the risk of my getting shot by not agreeing to the demands made of me.
Do we want a justice system that is designed to alter human behaviour so that people are more likely to make that choice in these kind of circumstances?
If the answer is no, then it would serve no purpose to hold me responsible.
What were the bank robbers other options, well, go for a walk, sit and watch telly, look for a job and so on.
Now he couldn’t do these things given that he desired to rob the bank but one aim of the justice system is to deter people in similar circumstances. when people are choosing between going for a walk, watching telly, looking for a job or robbing a bank we do want to deter them from robbing the bank.
If people were not held responsible in these circumstances then it needs to be the case that we think many more people would be robbing banks rather than watching telly, going for a walk or looking for a job.
So although this actual bank robber was not stopped by the practice many other potential bank robbers in similar circumstances are.
If we think this is true then we hold the bank robber responsible in accordance with the aim of the justice system.
In this case we don’t seem to have any need to use the tool of compatibilist free will to decide who to and whether we should hold somebody responsible.