David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
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)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
John Davenport (2006). The Deliberative Relevance of Refraining From Deciding: A Response to McKenna and Pereboom. [REVIEW] Acta Analytica 21 (4):62 - 88.
C. P. Ragland (2006). Descartes on the Principle of Alternative Possibilities. Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (3):377-394.
David Palmer (2011). Pereboom on the Frankfurt Cases. Philosophical Studies 153 (2):261 - 272.
Ira M. Schnall (2010). Weak Reasons-Responsiveness Meets its Match: In Defense of David Widerker's Attack on PAP. Philosophical Studies 150 (2):271 - 283.
Kevin Timpe (2006). A Critique of Frankfurt-Libertarianism. Philosophia 34 (2):189-202.
Michael Robinson (2012). Modified Frankfurt-Type Counterexamples and Flickers of Freedom. Philosophical Studies 157 (2):177-194.
Eleonore Stump (1999). Alternative Possibilities and Moral Responsibility: The Flicker of Freedom. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 3 (4):299-324.
Kevin Timpe (2009). Causal History Matters, but Not for Individuation. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (1):77-91.
Christopher Evan Franklin (2011). Neo-Frankfurtians and Buffer Cases: The New Challenge to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 152 (2):189–207.
David P. Hunt (2000). Moral Responsibility and Unavoidable Action. Philosophical Studies 97 (2):195-227.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads58 ( #25,054 of 1,096,462 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #18,760 of 1,096,462 )
How can I increase my downloads?