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There is no deeper or more pervasive conceptual confusion in matters moral than the assumption that moral responsibility is based upon, derives from, and is incurred for choices made in isolation from causal necessity (by exercise of a presumptive "free will"). On the contrary, we bear moral responsibility for an act not because our choice was made free of causal constraint, but exactly and directly because the causal constraints active in the choice situation were resolved by us in causal dependence upon our personal characteristics. That is, being who we are, as individuals with an individual nature and with a personal history, we did in fact choose as we did, for reasons causally grounded in our personal characteristics. Given these and the causal channels for their expression in our choices and acts, we resolved the causal influences acting upon us in a particular situation in a particular way, impressing upon that choice and the act flowing from it the stamp of our ownership. That it flowed directly and uniquely from our distinctive individual nature and history by causal necessity means that we were engaged in making the decision, and hence are responsible for it as its causal authors, morally no less than practically.

Insanity, accordingly, can serve as a valid defense against legal responsibility not because causal compulsion under insanity is so thorough as to rob us of a presumptive "free will", but rather because the causal channels that normally connect our acts with our personal characteristics in a systematic manner are deranged in insanity. This breaks the systematic connection that normally exists between our characteristics and our acts (which in this sense can be said not to be connected to us), rendering the question of personal responsibility for our acts under such circumstances moot.

Let us be done, then, with talk about a connection between "free will" and moral responsibility. The two have nothing whatsoever to do with one another.