Deliberation and the presumption of open alternatives

Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (April):230-51 (1986)
By deliberation we understand practical reasoning with an end in view of choosing some course of action. Integral to it is the agent's sense of alternative possibilities, that is, of two or more courses of action he presumes are open for him to undertake or not. Such acts may not actually be open in the sense that the deliberator would do them were he to so intend, but it is evident that he assumes each to be so. One deliberates only by taking it for granted that both performing and refraining from any of the acts under consideration are possible for one, and that which is to be selected is something entirely up to oneself. What is it for a course of action to be presumed as open, or for several courses of action to present themselves as a range of open alternatives? Answering these questions is essential for an understanding of deliberation and choice and, indeed, for the entire issue of free will and responsibility. According to one common view, a deliberator takes the considered options to be open only by assuming he is free to undertake any of them and, consequently, that whichever he does undertake is, as yet, a wholly undetermined matter. Built into the structure of deliberation, on this theory, is an indeterministic bias relative to which any deliberator with deterministic beliefs is either inconsistent or condemned to a fatalistic limbo. An unmistakable challenge is thereby posed: is there an alternative conception of the presuppositions underlying deliberation more congenial to a deterministic perspective yet adequate to the data? Convinced that there is, I develop a partial account of deliberation that, though highly similar to the aforementioned view, diverges at a critical juncture
Keywords Action  Choice  Deliberation  Metaphysics  Castaneda, H
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/2219771
 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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Tomis Kapitan (1991). Agency and Omniscience. Religious Studies 27 (1):105-120.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

51 ( #67,116 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #56,985 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.