David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (3):265-288 (2006)
Is choice necessary for moral responsibility? And does choice imply alternative possibilities of some significant sort? This paper will relate these questions to the argument initiated by Harry Frankfurt that alternative possibilities are not required for moral responsibility, and to John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza's extension of that argument in terms of guidance control in a causally determined world. I argue that attending to Frankfurt's core conceptual distinction between the circumstances that make an action unavoidable and those that bring it about that the action is performed – a distinction emphasised in his recent restatement – provides a new route into an analysis of Frankfurt's argument by showing how it depends on a person's ‘decision to act’ involving the exercise of choice. The implicit reliance of Frankfurt's argument on this notion of choice, however, undermines his claim that the example of the counterfactual intervener strengthens the compatibilist case by providing a counter-example to the principle of alternative possibilities. I also argue that Frankfurt's reliance on the exercise of choice for moral responsibility is also evident in the Fischer/Ravizza argument, and that a close analysis of both arguments shows that such exercise of choice is not available if causal determinism is true
|Keywords||Choice Determinism Ethics Moral Responsibility Fischer, John Martin Frankfurt, Harry Ravizza, Mark|
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References found in this work BETA
John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (1998). Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. Cambridge University Press.
Harry G. Frankfurt (1988). The Importance of What We Care About: Philosophical Essays. Cambridge University Press.
David Widerker & Michael McKenna (eds.) (2003). Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities: Essays on the Importance of Alternative Possibilities. Ashgate.
David Widerker (1995). Libertarianism and Frankfurt's Attack on the Principle of Alternative Possibilities. Philosophical Review 104 (2):247-61.
John Martin Fischer (2004). Responsibility and Manipulation. Journal of Ethics 8 (2):145-177.
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