The First Edition of "Freedom and Resentment" by P. Strawson

9 May, 2022

60 years ago, on May 9, 1962, Peter Strawson delivered a lecture "Freedom and Resentment" at the British Academy within the annual philosophical lectures established by Henriette Hertz Trust.

The text of this lecture was subsequently published in the Proceedings of the British Academy (1962, Vol. 48, P. 187–211) and made a revolution in the research of moral responsibility, setting the pace in modern discussions on this topic. Although this work has been reprinted many times, its first edition has remained a collector's item without public access. The Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies publishes an electronic version of the copy of the first edition of this work belonging to MCCS as a part of the MCCS Book collection1.


Sir Peter Frederick Strawson is a British philosopher of the second half of the XXth century, known for his works on Kant, general metaphysics and philosophy of language. The article "Freedom and Resentment", however, is devoted to one of the key problems of moral philosophy. Strawson discusses the relationship between freedom, responsibility and determinism. He reconstructs the discussion between those who believe that the truth of determinism threatens moral responsibility, and those who believe that in a deterministic world the practices of responsibility still would be justified. To reconcile the disputing parties, the philosopher suggests to changing the controversial idea of responsibility. Strawson believes that the main problem is the excessive intellectualization of moral responsibility practice. If we accept that responsibility is based on natural human reactions and is a condition for the existence of a human community, then the question of determinism ceases to be relevant to the discussion of freedom and responsibility.

The article "Freedom and Resentment" is a key one in the modern debate on moral responsibility. The Russian translation of this article is available on philosophy.ru.

[1] This copy of the first edition of Peter Strawson's "Freedom and Resentment" is the property of the Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies (MCCS). It is published with permission of the British Academy and Galen Strawson. Similar issues may be available in the libraries of your country. Nevertheless, when quoting precisely that copy of the work, please, make a reference to MCCS and to this web page URL.