Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 August 2019
Recent free will denialism (FWD) tends to be optimistic, claiming that not only will the rejection of the belief in free will and moral responsibility not make matters dreadful but that we are indeed better off without them. I address the denialist claim that FWD has the philosophical resources to effectively safeguard human rights and respect for persons in the context of punishment, even without belief in free will, moral responsibility, and desert. I raise seven reasons for doubt concerning the ability of FWD to maintain deontological constraints. Together they present a strong case for doubting the optimism of FWD.