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Compatibilism

Edited by Neil Levy (Oxford University, Macquarie University)
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Summary Compatibilist views of free will hold that free will is compatible with causal determinism. Classical compatibilists argued that determinism does not entail that agents lack alternative possibilities. They often advanced conditional accounts of alternatives (eg, the agent can do otherwise if, were she to want to do otherwise, she would). In more recent times, compatibilists have often denied that we need a power to do otherwise for freedom. Most contemporary compatibilists hold that free will is compatible with but does not require determinism. So-called Hobartian compatibilists hold that determinism is required for free will.
Key works Compatibilism was influentially defended by Hume 2009 and Hobbes 1651. Hume defended the conditional analysis of the ability to do otherwise. Hobart 1934 argued that free will actually requires determinism to be true. Non-traditional compatibilist accounts stem fromFrankfurt 1969, which argues that alternative possibilities are not required for moral responsibility (and, presumably, freedom). In Frankfurt 1971, an influential hierarchical account of free will is defended. Strawson 1962 develops an account of free will on which agents' reactive attitudes towards others is central. Very recently, there has been a rival of something like a conditional analysis of freedom, inspired by Lewisian work on dispositions; Vihvelin 2004 is an excellent defence of the view.
Introductions As usual, the entry in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - McKenna 2008 - is excellent. Though he is not (quite) a compatibilist himself, Fischer 2007 is a thorough articulation and defence, as is Haji 2002.
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  1. John Abbruzzese (2000). Garrett on the Theological Objection to Hume's Compatibilism. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 8 (2):345 – 352.
  2. Gan Hun Ahn (1999). The Free Will/Determinism Controversy: Its Implications for Moral Reasoning and Education. Dissertation, University of Missouri - Kansas City
    The purpose of this study is to propose a theory of moral education based on a concept of moral freedom that is philosophically sound and educationally meaningful. This was achieved through a critical analysis of several major positions regarding the free will/determinism controversy. ;The free will problem is examined in terms of the trichotomy of nonreconciling determinism/reconciling determinism/libertarianism. and by the dichotomy of incompatibilism vs. compatibilism. This study defends reconciling determinism in the trichotomy and compatibilism in the dichotomy. The difference (...)
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  3. Patrick Proctor Alexander (1866). Mill and Carlyle: An Examination of Mr. John Stuart Mill's Doctrine of Causation in Relation to Moral Freedom with an Occasional Discourse on Sauerteig by Smelfungus [I.E. P. P. Alexander]. [REVIEW] Norwood Editions.
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  4. Henry E. Allison (1996). Review of Kant's Compatibilism. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 105 (1).
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  5. Henry E. Allison (1996). Kant’s Compatibilism. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 105 (1):125-127.
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  6. James Andow & Florian Cova (2015). Why Compatibilist Intuitions Are Not Mistaken: A Reply to Feltz and Millan. Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):550-566.
    In the past decade, a number of empirical researchers have suggested that laypeople have compatibilist intuitions. In a recent paper, Feltz and Millan have challenged this conclusion by claiming that most laypeople are only compatibilists in appearance and are in fact willing to attribute free will to people no matter what. As evidence for this claim, they have shown that an important proportion of laypeople still attribute free will to agents in fatalistic universes. In this paper, we first argue that (...)
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  7. Kristin Andrews (2003). Neurophilosophy of Free Will by Henrik Walter. Philo 6 (1):166-175.
  8. G. E. M. Anscombe (1976). 'Soft' Determinism. In Gilbert Ryle (ed.), Contemporary Aspects of Philosophy. Oriel Press
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  9. Thomas George Arner (1983). Fate, Freedom, and Functionalism: A Functional Version of Compatibilism. Dissertation, Cornell University
    Is determinism compatible with the freedom required for moral responsibility? If so, we need an account of mind which shows how the conditions necessary for self-determined, responsible action can be realized in the mental states of agents--even when these states are causally determined. Functionalism satisfies this requirement. ;Donald Davidson rightly distinguishes between the physical and the mental levels of description of events. But he fails to justify and explain our intuitions about the freedom required for moral responsibility; he argues that (...)
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  10. Bruce Aune (1970). Free Will, 'Can', and Ethics: A Reply to Lehrer. Analysis 30 (January):77-83.
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  11. Bruce Aune (1963). Abilities, Modalities, and Free Will. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 23 (March):397-413.
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  12. A. J. Ayer (1991). Logical Foundations. New York: St Martin's Press.
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  13. A. J. Ayer (1991). Free-Will and Determinism. In Logical Foundations. New York: St Martin's Press
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  14. A. J. Ayer (1980). Free Will and Rationality. In Z. van Straaten (ed.), Philosophical Subjects. Oxford University Press
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  15. A. J. Ayer (1954). Freedom and Necessity. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophical Essays. St
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  16. John Baer (2008). 16 Free Will Requires Determinism. In John Baer, James C. Kaufman & Roy F. Baumeister (eds.), Are We Free?: Psychology and Free Will. Oxford University Press 304.
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  17. Archie J. Bahm (1965). The Freedom-Determinism Controversy. Pakistan Philosophical Journal 9 (January):48-55.
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  18. A. Bain (1880). Dr. Ward on Free-Will. Mind 5 (17):116-124.
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  19. Lynne Rudder Baker, What is Human Freedom?
    After centuries of reflection, the issue of human freedom remains vital largely because of its connection to moral responsibility. When I ask—What is human freedom?—I mean to be asking what kind of freedom is required for moral responsibility? Questions about moral responsibility are intimately connected to questions about social policy and justice; so, the issue of moral responsibility—of desert, of whether or not anyone is ever really praiseworthy or blameworthy—has practical as well as theoretical significance.
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  20. Lynne Rudder Baker (2006). Moral Responsibility Without Libertarianism. Noûs 40 (2):307-330.
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  21. Mark Balaguer (2009). The Metaphysical Irrelevance of the Compatibilism Debate (and, More Generally, of Conceptual Analysis). Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):1-24.
    It is argued here that the question of whether compatibilism is true is irrelevant to metaphysical questions about the nature of human decision-making processes—for example, the question of whether or not humans have free will—except in a very trivial and metaphysically uninteresting way. In addition, it is argued that two other questions—namely, the conceptual-analysis question of what free will is and the question that asks which kinds of freedom are required for moral responsibility—are also essentially irrelevant to metaphysical questions about (...)
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  22. D. Balsillie (1911). Prof. Bergson on Time and Free Will. Mind 20 (79):357-378.
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  23. Steven Barbone (1994). Compatibilism In the First Critique. Idealistic Studies 24 (2):111-122.
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  24. Eric Christian Barnes (forthcoming). Character Control and Historical Moral Responsibility. Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    Some proponents of compatibilist moral responsibility have proposed an historical theory which requires that agents deploy character control in order to be morally responsible. An important type of argument for the character control condition is the manipulation argument, such as Mele’s example of Beth and Chuck. In this paper I show that Beth can be exonerated on various conditions other than her failure to execute character control—I propose a new character, Patty, who meets these conditions and is, I argue, morally (...)
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  25. Eric Christian Barnes (2015). Historical Moral Responsibility: Is The Infinite Regress Problem Fatal? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2):n/a-n/a.
    Some compatibilists have responded to the manipulation argument for incompatibilism by proposing an historical theory of moral responsibility which, according to one version, requires that agents be morally responsible for having their pro-attitudes if they are to be morally responsible for acting on them. This proposal, however, leads obviously to an infinite regress problem. I consider a proposal by Haji and Cuypers that addresses this problem and argue that it is unsatisfactory. I then go on to propose a new solution (...)
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  26. J. E. Barnhart (1977). Theodicy and the Free Will Defence: Response to Plantinga and Flew. Religious Studies 13 (4):439 - 453.
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  27. Bruce Bassoff (1964). Free Will and Determinism. Journal of Existentialism 4:259-262.
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  28. Roy F. Baumeister, A. William Crescioni & Jessica L. Alquist (2011). Further Thoughts on Counterfactuals, Compatibilism, Conceptual Mismatches, and Choices: Response to Commentaries. Neuroethics 4 (1):31-34.
    Further Thoughts on Counterfactuals, Compatibilism, Conceptual Mismatches, and Choices: Response to Commentaries Content Type Journal Article Pages 31-34 DOI 10.1007/s12152-010-9067-3 Authors Roy F. Baumeister, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL USA A. William Crescioni, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL USA Jessica L. Alquist, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL USA Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490 Journal Volume Volume 4 Journal Issue Volume 4, Number 1.
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  29. Donald L. M. Baxter (1989). Free Choice. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 67 (March):12-24.
    There are two inspirations for the theory presented. One is the Kantian idea that a free choice affects a deterministic sequence of events globally rather than just locally. The second is the Leibnizian idea that God chooses for actuality the possible world he deems best. But instead of God choosing, suppose free agents collectively do. Let actuality be an office which deterministic possible worlds are voted in and not of. In this way free choice can change things even if every (...)
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  30. Benjamin Bayer (2015). The Elusiveness of Doxastic Compatibilism. American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (3):233-252.
    This paper evaluates recent proposals for compatibilism about doxastic freedom, and attempts to refine them by applying Fischer and Ravizza’s moderate reasons-responsiveness compatibilism to doxastic freedom. I argue, however, that even this refined version of doxastic compatibilism is subject to challenging counter-examples and is more difficult to support than traditional compatibilism about freedom of action. In particular, it is much more difficult to identify convincing examples of the sort Frankfurt proposed to challenge the idea that responsibility requires alternative possibilities.
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  31. Elizabeth Lane Beardsley (1960). Determinism and Moral Perspectives. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 21 (1):1-20.
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  32. Ansgar Beckermann (2005). Free Will in a Natural Order of the World. In Christian Nimtz & Ansgar Beckermann (eds.), Philosophie Und/Als Wissenschaft. Mentis
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  33. Ansgar Beckermann (2003). Would Biological Determinism Rule Out the Possibility of Freedom? In Andreas Hüttemann (ed.), Determinism in Physics and Biology. Mentis 136--149.
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  34. Helen Beebee (2008). Smilansky's Alleged Refutation of Compatibilism. Analysis 68 (299):258–260.
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  35. Helen Beebee (2003). Local Miracle Compatibilism. Noûs 37 (2):258-277.
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  36. Helen Beebee & Alfred R. Mele (2002). Humean Compatibilism. Mind 111 (442):201-223.
    Humean compatibilism is the combination of a Humean position on laws of nature and the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism. This article's aim is to situate Humean compatibilism in the current debate among libertarians, traditional compatibilists, and semicompatibilists about free will. We argue that a Humean about laws can hold that there is a sense in which the laws of nature are 'up to us' and hence that the leading style of argument for incompatibilism?the consequence argument?has a (...)
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  37. Yemima Ben-Menahem (1986). Newcomb's Paradox and Compatibilism. Erkenntnis 25 (2):197 - 220.
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  38. Hanoch Ben-Yami (2015). On Free Will and on the Nature of Philosophy. Iyyun 64:89-96.
  39. Jonathan Bennett, Accountability.
    I shall present a problem about accountability, and its solution by Strawson’s ‘Freedom and Resentment’. Some readers of this don’t see it as a profound contribution to moral philosophy, and I want to help them. It may be helpful to follow up Strawson’s gracefully written discussion with a more staccato presentation. My treatment will also be angled somewhat differently from his, so that its lights and shadows will fall with a certain difference, which may make it serviceable even to the (...)
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  40. Paul Benson (1994). Free Agency and Self-Worth. Journal of Philosophy 91 (12):650-58.
  41. S. Benson (1987). Freedom and Value. Journal of Philosophy 84 (September):465-87.
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  42. Craig A. Berg & Philip Smith (1994). Assessing Students' Abilities to Construct and Interpret Line Graphs: Disparities Between Multiple‐Choice and Free‐Response Instruments. Science Education 78 (6):527-554.
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  43. Frithjof Bergmann (1977). On Being Free. University of Notre Dame Press.
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  44. Sven Bernecker (2006). Prospects for Epistemic Compatibilism. Philosophical Studies 130 (1):81-104.
    This paper argues that Sosa’s virtue perspectivism fails to combine satisfactorily internalist and externalist features in a single theory. Internalism and externalism are reconciled at the price of creating a Gettier problem at the level of “reflective” or second-order knowledge. The general lesson to be learned from the critique of virtue perspectivism is that internalism and externalism cannot be combined by bifurcating justification and knowledge into an object-level and a meta-level and assigning externalism and internalism to different levels.
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  45. Mark H. Bernstein (2005). Can We Ever Be Really, Truly, Ultimately, Free? Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):1-12.
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  46. Sara Bernstein & Jessica Wilson (forthcoming). Free Will and Mental Quausation. Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-22.
    Free will, if such there be, involves free choosing: the ability to mentally choose an outcome, where the outcome is 'free' in being, in some substantive sense, up to the agent of the choice. As such, it is clear that the questions of how to understand free will and mental causation are connected, for events of seemingly free choosing are mental events that appear to be efficacious vis-a-vis other mental events as well as physical events. Nonetheless, the free will and (...)
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  47. Bernard Berofsky (2012). Nature's Challenge to Free Will. Oxford University Press, USA.
    Bernard Berofsky addresses that metaphysical picture directly.Nature's Challenge to Free Willoffers an original defense of Humean Compatibilism.
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  48. Bernard Berofsky (2011). Compatibilism Without Frankfurt: Dispositional Analyses of Free Will. In Robert Kane (ed.), Handbook of Free Will, 2nd Ed.
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  49. Bernard Berofsky (2010). Free Will and the Mind–Body Problem. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):1 – 19.
    Compatibilists regard subsumption under certain sorts of deterministic psychological laws as sufficient for free will. As _bona fide_ laws, their existence poses problems for the thesis of the unalterability of laws, a cornerstone of the Consequence Argument against compatibilism. The thesis is challenged, although a final judgment must wait upon resolution of controversies about the nature of laws. Another premise of the Consequence Argument affirms the supervenience of mental states on physical states, a doctrine whose truth would not undermine the (...)
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  50. Bernard Berofsky (2006). Global Control and Freedom. Philosophical Studies 131 (2):419-445.
    Several prominent incompatibilists, e.g., Robert Kane and Derk Pereboom, have advanced an analogical argument in which it is claimed that a deterministic world is essentially the same as a world governed by a global controller. Since the latter world is obviously one lacking in an important kind of freedom, so must any deterministic world. The argument is challenged whether it is designed to show that determinism precludes freedom as power or freedom as self-origination. Contrary to the claims of its adherents, (...)
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