David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):745-748 (2008)
In his paper ‘‘Bad luck once again’’ Neil Levy attacks our proof of the consistency of libertarianism by reiterating a time-worn compatibilist complaint.1 This is, that what is not determined must be due to chance. If A has a choice of X or Y, neither X nor Y being causally determined, then if A chooses X it can only be by chance, never for a reason. The only ‘‘reason’’ that could explain the choice of X over Y would have to be a causally suﬃcient reason, which would rule out A’s having a genuine choice in the ﬁrst place. Either X is causally necessitated or X is realized by sheer luck. But that these are the only alternatives is untrue. The exercise of deliberative reason opens the way between the Scylla of causal necessitation and the Charybdis of chance, as we shall try to make clear. The central core of Levy’s argument is that any attempt to give a reasons-based explanation of a contrastive fact must fail. A contrastive fact is a fact of the kind ‘‘Jane decides to vacation in Hawaii rather than Colorado,’’ or ‘‘Jane assigns a greater weight to surﬁng that to white-water rafting.’’ In the last three paragraphs of his paper Levy argues that Jane’s assigning more weight to surﬁng than to rafting cannot be a reasons-based assignment, because, as he puts it, ‘‘the reasons that would explain the weighting are the weighted reasons themselves.’’ Similarly, prior to making her Hawaii⁄ Colorado decision, Jane has..
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