David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 63 (August):231-43 (1991)
The use of predicate and sentential operators to express the practical modalities -- ability, control, openness, etc. -- has given new life to a fatalistic argument against determinist theories of responsible agency. A familiar version employs the following principle: the consequences of what is unavoidable (beyond one's control) are themselves unavoidable. Accordingly, if determinism is true, whatever happens is the consequence of events in the remote past, or, of such events together with the laws of nature. But laws and the remote past are not under our control and, by the principle, neither are their consequences. Therefore, none of our choices and actions, nor anything that results from them, is under our control.1 Whether refinements of the closure principle underlying this unavoidability argument are acceptable depends upon the precise sense of 'consequence' and 'unavoidable' involved. Roughly, a proposition P is a consequence of a set of propositions M iff it is impossible that P be false when each member of M is true, or, conversely, when M necessitates P. Since P is unavoidable for S when P is true and S is (was) unable to prevent P from being true, it might seem that if P is unavoidable the same should hold of what is necessitated by P. There is, in fact, 1 an easy defense of the principle which utilizes the incompatibilist condition that S is able to do action K only if it is as yet undetermined whether or not S will K. With it, there is no question but that one is unable to accomplish what is already determined by what one was unable to prevent. Of course, this reasoning is unlikely to impress the compatibilist who rejects the condition outright and, expectedly, it is not the procedure of the proponents of the unavoidability argument. The latter might rest content with appeals to intuition, but more significant are defenses of the closure principle and independent derivations of the unavoidability argument that rely upon distinct principles concerning the logic of the practical modalities, for example, closure of ability under entailment (Cross 1986, Brown 1988) or, claims about the "fixity of the past" and the "inescapability of laws" (Ginet 1990)..
|Keywords||Avoidability Compatibilism Consequence Determinism Metaphysics|
|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
Tomis Kapitan (1994). The Incompatibility of Omniscience and Intentional Action: A Reply to David P. Hunt. Religious Studies 30 (1):55 - 66.
Similar books and articles
Thomas P. Flint (1987). Compatibilism and the Argument From Unavoidability. Journal of Philosophy 84 (August):423-40.
Tomis Kapitan (1996). Modal Principles in the Metaphysics of Free Will. Philosophical Perspectives 10:419-45.
Tomis Kapitan (2000). Autonomy and Manipulated Freedom. Philosopical Perspectives 14 (s14):81-104.
John Perry (2004). Compatibilist Options. In David Shier, Michael O'Rourke & Joseph Keim Campbell (eds.), Freedom and Determinism. MIT Press/Bradford Book. 231.
Garrett Pendergraft (2010). The Explanatory Power of Local Miracle Compatibilism. Philosophical Studies 156 (2):249-266.
Leigh C. Vicens (2012). Divine Determinism, Human Freedom, and the Consequence Argument. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 71 (2):145-155.
Peter van Inwagen (2008). The Consequence Argument. In Peter Van Inwagen & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Metaphysics: The Big Questions. Blackwell Pub..
Helen Beebee & Alfred R. Mele (2002). Humean Compatibilism. Mind 111 (442):201-223.
S. Oakley (2006). Defending Lewis's Local Miracle Compatibilism. Philosophical Studies 130 (2):337-349.
Tomis Kapitan (2002). A Master Argument for Incompatibilism? In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press. 127--157.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads43 ( #47,251 of 1,681,636 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #183,751 of 1,681,636 )
How can I increase my downloads?