A Popular Argument on Free Will and Moral Responsibility
I encounter this argument very commonly from people amidst conversations:
"If free will does not exist, it implies that we cannot hold criminals morally responsible for their crimes."
However, despite the appeal, the argument is self-defeating. The argument supposes that we have some sort of a choice in holding criminals morally responsible; that we could choose not to hold them responsible if we so decided, and yet it denies this same agency to the criminals. A criminal could not have done otherwise in committing a crime, but we can do otherwise by not judging them?
As obvious, the relationship between free will and moral responsibility is of more philosophical subtlety than this popular argument can capture.