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Summary Semi-compatibilism is a view about moral responsibility developed by John Martin Fischer, alone and together with Mark Ravizza. Semi-compatibilism combines agnosticism about the compatibility of free will and determinism with compatibilism about moral responsibility: determinism is no threat to moral responsibility whether or not it threatens free will. Fischer's agnosticism about free will is a product of his reading of debates over the consequence argument, but he maintains that the sense of free will at issue in that debate is not required for moral responsibility. Fischer's work on Frankfurt-style cases develops an alternative basis for the attribution of moral responsibility.
Key works The central work setting out the case for semi-compatibilism is Fischer & Ravizza 1998. Fischer's important work on the consequence argument is best reflected in Fischer 1994. Since the Frankfurt-style cases play such an important role in motivating semi-compatibilism, criticism of the view has often turned on arguments that the cases do not establish the falsity of the principle of alternative possibilities. See especially Widerker 1995 and Speak 2002.
Introductions Fischer 1999;Fischer 2002;
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  1. Peter Achinstein (1987). Fischer, John Martin, 215/I28 Fisher, RA, 113/I84 Fogelin, Robert, 265/M5 Foley, Richard, 9, 15, 180/tlO, 264/I9, 280/Il, 313/Tl3. [REVIEW] In Luper-Foy Steven (ed.), The Possibility of Knowledge: Nozick and His Critics. Rowman & Littlefield 327.
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  2. Gan Hun Ahn (2008). An Analysis of Semi-Compatibilism. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 15:7-12.
    Semi-compatibilists intend to reconcile moral responsibility with causal determinism, even if determinism is incompatible with freedom to do otherwise. For them, moral responsibility does not require free will, which is not a necessary condition for moral responsibility. They agree with the view that causal determinism is incompatible with free will. Free will is incompatible with determinism as well as moral responsibility. Both compatibilists and semi-compatibilists argue for the compatibility between determinism and moral responsibility. However, the latter fails to prove sufficiently (...)
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  3. Roman Altshuler (forthcoming). Free Will, Narrative, and Retroactive Self-Constitution. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-17.
    John Fischer has recently argued that the value of acting freely is the value of self-expression. Drawing on David Velleman’s earlier work, Fischer holds that the value of a life is a narrative value and free will is valuable insofar as it allows us to shape the narrative structure of our lives. This account rests on Fischer’s distinction between regulative control and guidance control. While we lack the former kind of control, on Fischer’s view, the latter is all that is (...)
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  4. Benjamin Bayer, The Elusiveness of Doxastic Compatibilism.
    While many have explored the question of whether the concept moral responsibility can be made compatible with the prospect of determinism, few have applied compatibilist proposals to the concept of epistemic responsibility and its associated notion of doxastic freedom. This paper evaluates a few recent proposals for doxastic compatibilism that have emerged in recent years, and attempts to refine them for the sake of further evaluation. In particular I evaluate a version of Fischer and Ravizza's moderate reasons-responsiveness compatibilism as applied (...)
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  5. André Blom (1993). John Martin Fischer, Ed., The Metaphysics of Death Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 13 (6):307-308.
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  6. André Blom (1993). John Martin Fischer, Ed., The Metaphysics of Death. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 13:307-308.
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  7. Sofia Bonicalzi (2012). John Martin Fischer, Deep Control. Essays on Free Will and Value. Rivista di Storia Della Filosofia 3:643.
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  8. S. Buss (1997). Fischer, JM-The Metaphysics of Free Will. Philosophical Books 38:117-120.
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  9. Sarah Buss (1997). Review of John Fischer's Metaphysics of Free Will. [REVIEW] Philosophical Books 38 (2):117-121.
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  10. Johnny Cash (2007). John Martin Fischer. In John Martin Fischer (ed.), Four Views on Free Will. Blackwell Pub. 5--44.
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  11. Melvin Chen (2014). Strawson Contra Strawson: Moral Responsibility and Semi‐Compatibilism. Philosophical Forum 45 (1):1-15.
    This paper addresses the Basic Argument in favour of incompatibilism, both in its Strawsonian form and in its weakened form (the CDA). After examining the worries raised by this argument, I will defend a version of semi-compatibilism that is motivated by a narrative theory of the self, arguing that moral responsibility is possible even if the thesis of determinism is taken to be incompatible with the thesis of freedom of will. The semi-compatibilist argument that I provide lowers the standard of (...)
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  12. Randolph Clarke (2010). Determinism and Our Self-Conception. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):242-250.
    This paper is a contribution to a symposium on John Fischer's MY WAY. In much of that work, Fischer says, he aims to show the "resiliency of our fundamental conception of ourselves as possessing control and being morally responsible agents," and particularly the compatibility of that conception with determinism. I argue that his conclusions leave several important aspects of our ordinary conception of our agency hostage to determinism. Further, there is significant tension between certain of his views. I’ll suggest that (...)
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  13. Randolph Clarke (1997). The Metaphysics of Free Will. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 106 (3):450-453.
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  14. D. Justin Coates & Philip Swenson (2013). Reasons-Responsiveness and Degrees of Responsibility. Philosophical Studies 165 (2):629-645.
    Ordinarily, we take moral responsibility to come in degrees. Despite this commonplace, theories of moral responsibility have focused on the minimum threshold conditions under which agents are morally responsible. But this cannot account for our practices of holding agents to be more or less responsible. In this paper we remedy this omission. More specifically, we extend an account of reasons-responsiveness due to John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza according to which an agent is morally responsible only if she is appropriately (...)
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  15. Enrico A. Colombo (2004). Logica E Metafisica in Kuno Fischer. Unicopli.
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  16. Keith Culver (1999). Fischer, John Martin, and Mark Ravizza. Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. Review of Metaphysics 53 (2):444-446.
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  17. John J. Davenport (2002). Fischer and Ravizza on Moral Sanity and Weakness of Will. Journal of Ethics 6 (3):235–259.
    This essay evaluates John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza's mature semi-compatibilist account of moral responsibility, focusingon their new theory of moderate reasons-responsiveness as a model of "moral sanity." This theory, presented in _Responsibility and Control_, solves many of the problems with Fischer's earlier weak reasons-responsiveness model, such as its unwanted implication that agents who are only erratically responsive to bizarre reasons can be responsible for their acts. But I argue that the new model still faces several problems. It does not (...)
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  18. S. A. Davison (1999). Fischer, JM and Ravizza, M.-Responsibility and Control. Philosophical Books 40:265-266.
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  19. Michael Della Rocca (1998). Frankfurt, Fischer and Flickers. Noûs 32 (1):99-105.
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  20. A. S. Eshleman (2001). Being is Not Believing: Fischer and Ravizza on Taking Responsibility. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):479 – 490.
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  21. Jan éstéepâan (1996). J.L. Fischer a Filozofie Xx. Stolet'i Sborn'ik Prac'i K 100. V'yroéc'i Narozen'i. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  22. Robert Faricy (1975). John Passmore, "Man's Responsibility for Nature". [REVIEW] The Thomist 39 (2):431.
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  23. John Martin Fischer (2012). Deep Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. OUP USA.
    In this collection of essays -- a follow up to My Way and Our Stories -- John Martin Fischer defends the contention that moral responsibility is associated with "deep control". Fischer defines deep control as the middle ground between two untenable extreme positions: "superficial control" and "total control". -/- Our freedom consists of the power to add to the given past, holding fixed the laws of nature, and therefore, Fischer contends, we must be able to interpret our actions as extensions (...)
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  24. John Martin Fischer (2009). Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will. Oxford University Press.
    Introduction: "meaning in life and death : our stories" -- John Martin Fischer and Anthony B rueckner, "Why is death bad?", Philosophical studies, vol. 50, no. 2 (September 1986) -- "Death, badness, and the impossibility of experience," Journal of ethics -- John Martin Fischer and Daniel Speak, "Death and the psychological conception of personal identity," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 24 -- "Earlier birth and later death : symmetry through thick and thin," Richard Feldman, Kris McDaniel, Jason R. Raibley, eds., (...)
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  25. John Martin Fischer (2006). The Free Will Revolution (Continued). Journal of Ethics 10 (3):315-345.
    I seek to reply to the thoughtful and penetrating comments by William Rowe, Alfred Mele, Carl Ginet, and Ishtiyaque Haji. In the process, I hope that my overall approach to free will and moral responsibility is thrown into clearer relief. I make some suggestions as to future directions of research in these areas.
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  26. John Martin Fischer (2006). My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
    This is a selection of essays on moral responsibility that represent the major components of John Martin Fischer's overall approach to freedom of the will and moral responsibility. The collection exhibits the overall structure of Fischer's view and shows how the various elements fit together to form a comprehensive framework for analyzing free will and moral responsibility. The topics include deliberation and practical reasoning, freedom of the will, freedom of action, various notions of control, and moral accountability. The essays seek (...)
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  27. John Martin Fischer (2005). Reply: The Free Will Revolution. Philosophical Explorations 8 (2):145 – 156.
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  28. John Martin Fischer (2004). Free Will and Moral Responsibility. In D. Copps (ed.), Handbook on Ethical Theory. Oxford University Press
    Much has been written recently about free will and moral responsibility. In this paper I will focus on the relationship between free will, on the one hand, and various notions that fall under the rubric of “morality,” broadly construed, on the other: deliberation and practical reasoning, moral responsibility, and ethical notions such as “ought,” “right,” “wrong,” “good,” and “bad.” I shall begin by laying out a natural understanding of freedom of the will. Next I develop some challenges to the common-sense (...)
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  29. John Martin Fischer (2004). Responsibility and Manipulation. Journal of Ethics 8 (2):145-177.
    I address various critiques of the approach to moral responsibility sketched in previous work by Ravizza and Fischer. I especially focus on the key issues pertaining to manipulation.
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  30. John Martin Fischer (2002). Frankfurt-Type Examples and Semi-Compatibilism. In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press
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  31. John Martin Fischer (2000). Chicken Soup for the Semi-Compatibilist Soul: Replies to Haji and Kane. Journal of Ethics 4 (4):404-407.
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  32. John Martin Fischer (1998). The Metaphysics of Free Will: A Reply to My Critics. Journal of Social Philosophy 29 (2):157-167.
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  33. John Martin Fischer (1994). The Metaphysics of Free Will: A Study of Control. Blackwell.
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  34. John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (1998). Morally Responsible People Without Freedom. In Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
    In this brief concluding chapter we first wish to present the overall argument of the book in a concise, nontechnical way. We hope this will provide a clear view of the argument. We shall then point to some of the distinctive--and attractive--features of our approach. Finally, we shall offer some preliminary thoughts about extending the account of moral responsibility to apply to emotions.
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  35. John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (1998). Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. Cambridge University Press.
    This book provides a comprehensive, systematic theory of moral responsibility. The authors explore the conditions under which individuals are morally responsible for actions, omissions, consequences, and emotions. The leading idea in the book is that moral responsibility is based on 'guidance control'. This control has two components: the mechanism that issues in the relevant behavior must be the agent's own mechanism, and it must be appropriately responsive to reasons. The book develops an account of both components. The authors go on (...)
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  36. Christopher Evan Franklin (2006). Plausibility, Manipulation, and Fischer and Ravizza. Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):173-192.
    The manipulation argument poses a significant challenge for any adequate compatibilist theory of agency. The argument maintains that there is no relevant difference between actions or pro-attitudes that are induced by nefarious neurosurgeons, God, or (and this is the important point) natural causes. Therefore, if manipulation is thought to undermine moral responsibility, then so also ought causal determinism. In this paper, I will attempt to bolster the plausibility of John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza’s semicompatibilist theory of moral responsibility by (...)
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  37. Michael Garnett (2013). Fischer-Style Compatibilism. Analysis 73 (2):387-397.
    This is a critical review essay of John Martin Fischer's Deep Control: Essays on Free Will and Value.
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  38. Carl Ginet (1998). John Fischer, The Metaphysics of Free Will. Journal of Social Philosophy 29 (2):126-134.
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  39. Ginsberg Ginsberg (1935). Fischer, Friedrich Carl, Die Nullpunktexistenz. Studies in Philosophy and Social Science 4:100.
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  40. W. Glannon (1999). Responsibility and Control: Fischer's and Ravizza's Theory of Moral Responsibility. [REVIEW] Law and Philosophy 18 (2):187-213.
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  41. Walter Glannon (1997). Semicompatibilism and Anomalous Monism. Philosophical Papers 26 (3):211-231.
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  42. Susan Gottlöber (2011). Thomas Bedorf/Joachim Fischer/Gesa Lindemann (Hgg.), Theorien des Dritten. Innovationen in Soziologie und Sozialphilosophie. Philosophisches Jahrbuch 118 (2):421.
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  43. Ishtiyaque Haji (2011). On the Reason View of Freedom and Semi-Compatibilism. Acta Analytica 26 (4):343-353.
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  44. Ishtiyaque Haji (2009). Demotivating Semi-Compatibilism. Ideas Y Valores 58 (141):125-140.
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  45. Ishtiyaque Haji (2005). Introduction: Semi-Compatibilism, Reasons-Responsiveness, and Ownership. Philosophical Explorations 8 (2):91 – 93.
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  46. Ishtiyaque Haji & Justin Caouette (eds.) (2013). Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    Determinism is, roughly, the thesis that facts about the past and the laws of nature entail all truths. A venerable, age-old dilemma concerning responsibility distils to this: if either determinism is true or it is not true, we lack "responsibility-grounding" control. Either determinism is true or it is not true. So, we lack responsibility-grounding control. Deprived of such control, no one is ever morally responsible for anything. A number of the freshly-minted essays in this collection address aspects of this dilemma. (...)
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  47. Ishtiyaque Haji & Justin Caouette (2013). Introduction: Mapping the Terrain. In Ishtiyaque Haji & Justin Caouette (eds.), Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Press 1-25.
    Determinism is, roughly, the thesis that facts about the past and the laws of nature entail all truths. A venerable, age-old dilemma concerning responsibility distils to this: if either determinism is true or it is not true, we lack "responsibility-grounding" control. Either determinism is true or it is not true. So, we lack responsibility-grounding control. Deprived of such control, no one is ever morally responsible for anything. A number of the freshly-minted essays in this collection address aspects of this dilemma. (...)
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  48. Peter Hallward (2005). Book Review of Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution by Sibylle Fischer. [REVIEW] Radical Philosophy 134:51-53.
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  49. Pamela Hieronymi (2011). Making a Difference. Social Theory and Practice 37 (1):81-94.
    I suggest that Fischer concedes too much to the consequence argument when he grants that we may not make a difference. I provide a broad sketch of (my take on) the dispute between compatibilists and incompatibilists, while suggesting that some of the discussion may have confused the freedom required for moral responsibility with a very different notion of autonomy. I introduce that less usual notion of autonomy and suggest that those who are autonomous, in this sense, do make a difference.
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  50. David Hodgson (2009). Review of John Martin Fischer, Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (9).
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