Black the libertarian

Acta Analytica 22 (1):3-15 (2007)
The most serious challenge to Frankfurt-type counterexamples to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP) comes in the form of a dilemma: either the counterexample presupposes determinism, in which case it begs the question; or it does not presuppose determinism, in which case it fails to deliver on its promise to eliminate all alternatives that might plausibly be thought to satisfy PAP. I respond to this challenge with a counterexample in which considering an alternative course of action is a necessary condition for deciding to act otherwise, and the agent does not in fact consider the alternative. I call this a “buffer case,” because the morally relevant alternative is “buffered” by the requirement that the agent first consider the alternative. Suppose further that the agent’s considering an alternative action—entering the buffer zone—is what would trigger the counterfactual intervener. Then it would appear that PAP-relevant alternatives are out of reach. I defend this counterexample to PAP against three objections: that considering an alternative is itself a morally relevant alternative; that buffer cases can be shown to contain other alternatives that arguably satisfy PAP; and that even if the agent’s present access to PAP-relevant alternatives were eliminated, PAP could still be satisfied in virtue of earlier alternatives. I conclude that alternative possibilities are a normal symptom, but not an essential constituent, of moral agency.
Keywords alternatives, buffer (buffer case, buffer strategy)  decision  free will  libertarian  moral responsibility  Principle of Alternate Possibilities
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF02866207
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,707
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

71 ( #47,891 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #118,705 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.