Humean compatibilism is the combination of a Humean position on laws of nature and the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism. This article's aim is to situate Humean compatibilism in the current debate among libertarians, traditional compatibilists, and semicompatibilists about free will. We argue that a Humean about laws can hold that there is a sense in which the laws of nature are 'up to us' and hence that the leading style of argument for incompatibilism?the consequence (...) argument?has a false premiss. We also display some striking similarities between Humean compatibilism and libertarianism, an incompatibilist view. For example, standard libertarians face a problem about luck, and we show that Humean compatibilists face a very similar problem. (shrink)
William Alston has argued that the so-called deontological conception of epistemic justification, on which epistemic justification is to be spelled out in terms of blame, responsibility, and obligations, is untenable. The basic idea of the argument is that this conception is untenable because we lack voluntary control over our beliefs and, therefore, cannot have any obligations to hold certain beliefs. If this is convincing, however, the argument threatens the very idea of doxastic responsibility. For, how can we ever be responsible (...) for our beliefs if we lack control over them? Several philosophers have argued that the idea that we bear responsibility for our beliefs can be saved, because absence of voluntary control over our beliefs is perfectly compatible with having obligations to hold particular beliefs. With others, I call this view ‘doxastic compatibilism’. It comes in two varieties. On the first variety, doxastic obligations do not require any kind of doxastic control whatsoever. I argue that this variety of doxastic compatibilism fails because it confuses doxastic responsibility with other closely related phenomena. On the second variety, doxastic obligations do not require voluntary doxastic control, but only compatibilist doxastic control (roughly, reason-responsiveness) and we do in fact have such control. I grant that we have such control, but also argue that having such control is insufficient for bearing doxastic responsibility. The plausibility of the examples put forward by doxastic compatibilists in support of the claim that it is sufficient for doxastic responsibility derives from the fact that in these examples, the subjects have control over factors that influence what they believe rather than control over those beliefs themselves. (shrink)
Most philosophers now concede that libertarianism has failed as an account of free will. Assuming the correctness of this concession, that leaves compatibilism and hard determinism as the only remaining choices in the free will debate. In this paper, I will argue that hard determinism turns out to be a form of compatibilism, and therefore, compatibilism is the only remaining position in the free will debate. I will attempt to establish this conclusion by arguing that hard determinists (...) will end up punishing or rewarding the same acts (and omissions) that the compatibilists punish and reward. Next, I will respond to several objections that attempt to pry apart hard determinism and compatibilism. It will emerge not only that hard determinism and compatibilism are identical at the practical level, but also that the key terms employed by the hard determinist have the same meaning as equivalent terms ("free," "morally responsible," and "retributive punishment") employed by the compatibilist. I conclude that hard determinism genuinely is a form of compatibilism. (shrink)
The problem of freedom and determinism has vexed philosophers for several millennia, and continues to be a topic of lively debate today. One of the proposed solutions to the problem that has received a great deal of attention is the Theory of Agent Causation. While the theory has enjoyed its share of advocates, and perhaps more than its share of critics, the theory’s advocates and critics have always agreed on one thing: the Theory of Agent Causation is an incompatibilist theory. (...) That is, both believers and nonbelievers in the theory have taken it for granted that the most plausible version of the Theory of Agent Causation is one according to which freedom and determinism are incompatible. In fact, so entrenched is this assumption that no one on either side of the debate has ever questioned it. Yet it turns out that this assumption is wrong – the most plausible version of the Theory of Agent Causation is a compatibilist one. (shrink)
In this essay I shall begin by sketching a "Frankfurt-type example." I shall then lay out a disturbing challenge to the claim I have made above that these examples help us to make significant progress in the debates about the relationship between moral responsibility and causal determinism. I then will provide a reply to this challenge, and the reply will point toward a more refined formulation of the important contribution I believe Frankfurt has made to defending a certain sort of (...)compatibilism. (shrink)
This paper argues that ability to do otherwise (in the compatibilist sense) at the moment of initiation of action is a necessary condition of being able to act at all. If the argument is correct, it shows that Harry Frankfurt never provided a genuine counterexample to the 'principles of alternative possibilities' in his 1969 paper ‘Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility’. The paper was written without knowledge of Frankfurt's paper.
Compatibilism is the thesis that an act may be both free and determined by previous events and the laws of nature. I assume that in normal cases a condition of a person's performing an act freely is that the person is able to refrain from performing the act. Thus, I accept that if determinism entails that agents do not have this ability, we must give up compatibilism. In this paper I try to contribute to the rethinking of (...) class='Hi'>compatibilism by distinguishing between strong and weak accounts of laws and strong and weak accounts of ability. I argue that compatibilism is a tenable position when combined with either a weak account of laws, or a weak account of ability, or both. I shall concentrate on influential arguments for incompatibilism due to Peter van Inwagen, often called collectively the "consequence argument". (shrink)
In this paper I offer from a source compatibilist's perspective a critical discussion of "Four Views on Free Will" by John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, Derk Pereboom, and Manuel Vargas. Sharing Fischer's semi-compatibilist view, I propose modifications to his arguments while resisting his coauthors' objections. I argue against Kane that he should give up the requirement that a free and morally responsible agent be able to do otherwise (in relevant cases). I argue against Pereboom that his famed manipulation argument be (...) resisted by contending that the agents in it are free and responsible. And I also argue against Vargas by challenging the sense in which his revisionist thesis differs from a position like Fischer's and mine. I close by reflecting on the nature of desert. All seem to assume it is central to the debate, but what is it? (shrink)
_If you were free in doing something and morally responsible for it, you could have done otherwise. That_ _has seemed a pretty firm proposition among the old, new, clear, unclear and other propositions in the_ _philosophical discussion of freedom and determinism. If you were free in what you did, there was an_ _alternative. It is also at least natural to think that if determinism is true, you can never do otherwise than_ _you do. G. E. Moore, that Cambridge reasoner in (...) whose shadow Wittgenstein ought to be standing,_ _considered the matter. He pointed out that even if determinism is true, there remains a sense in which you_ _can still do otherwise than you do: you will do otherwise if you so choose. That, on reflection, is consistent_ _with determinism. The doctrine of the compatibility of freedom and determinism is saved. Joseph Keim_ _Campbell, strong philosopher at Washington State University, provides the latest thinking on this seemingly_ _unavoidable dispute. You do not have to agree that either compatibilism or incompatibilism must be true in_ _order to appreciate the carefulness of his reasoning in this piece of ongoing American philosophy. It_ _requires and repays attention._. (shrink)
A determinism of decisions and actions, despite our experience of deciding and acting and also an interpretation of Quantum Theory, is a reasonable assumption. The doctrines of Compatibilism and Incompatibilism are both false, and demonstrably so. Whole structures of culture and social life refute them, and establish the alternative of Attitudinism. The real problem of determinism has seemed to be that of accomodating ourselves to the frustration of certain attitudes, at bottom certain desires. This project of Affirmation can run (...) up against a conviction owed to reflecting on your own past life. The conviction is that an attitude akin to one tied to indeterminism, a way of holding yourself morally responsible, has some basis despite the truth of determinism. We need to look for radical ideas here, as radical as Consciousness as Existence with the problem of perceptual consciousness. Could that doctrine help with determinism and freedom? Could a problem about causation and explanation do so? (shrink)
I examine the extent to which Dennett’s account in Freedom Evolves might be construed as revisionist about free will or should instead be understood as a more traditional kind of compatibilism. I also consider Dennett’s views about philosophical work on free agency and its relationship to scientiﬁc inquiry, and I argue that extant philosophical work is more relevant to scientiﬁc inquiry than Dennett’s remarks may suggest.
In this paper I discuss two kinds of attempts to qualify incompatibilist and compatibilist conceptions of freedom to avoid what have been thought to be incredible commitments of these rival accounts. One attempt -- which I call soft libertarianism -- is represented by Robert Kane''s work. It hopes to defend an incompatibilist conception of freedom without the apparently difficult metaphysical costs traditionally incurred by these views. On the other hand, in response to what I call the robot objection (that if (...)compatibilism is true, human beings could be the products of design), some compatibilists are tempted to soften their position by placing restrictions on the origins of agency. I argue that both of these attempts are misguided. Hard libertarianism and hard compatibilism are the only theoretical options. (shrink)
The compatibility question lies at the center of the free will problem. Compatibilists think that determinism is compatible with moral responsibility and the concomitant notions, while incompatibilists think that it is not. The topic of this paper is a particular form of charge against compatibilism: that it is shallow. This is not the typical sort of argument against compatibilism: most of the debate has attempted to discredit compatibilism completely. The Argument From Shallowness maintains that the compatibilists do (...) have a case. However, this case is only partial, and shallow. This limited aim proves itself more powerful against compatibilists than previous all-or-nothing attempts. It connects to the valid instincts of compatibilists, making room for them, and hence is harder for compatibilists to ignore. (shrink)
David Lewis has offered a reply to the standard argument for the claim that the truth of determinism is incompatible with anyone’s being able to do otherwise than she in fact does. Helen Beebee has argued that Lewis’s compatibilist strategy is untenable. In this paper I show that one recent attempt to defend Lewis’s view against this argument fails and then go on to offer my own defense of Lewis’s view.
Manipulation arguments for incompatibilism all build upon some example or other in which an agent is covertly manipulated into acquiring a psychic structure on the basis of which she performs an action. The featured agent, it is alleged, is manipulated into satisfying conditions compatibilists would take to be sufficient for acting freely. Such an example used in the context of an argument for incompatibilism is meant to elicit the intuition that, due to the pervasiveness of the manipulation, the agent does (...) not act freely and is not morally responsible for what she does. It is then claimed that any agent's coming to be in the same psychic state through a deterministic process is no different in any relevant respect from the pertinent manner of manipulation. Hence, it is concluded that compatibilists' proposed sufficient conditions for free will and moral responsibility are inadequate, and that free will and moral responsibility are incompatible with determinism. One way for compatibilists to resist certain manipulation arguments is by appealing to historical requirements that, they contend, relevant manipulated agents lack. While a growing number of compatibilists advance an historical thesis, in this paper, I redouble my efforts to show, in defense of nonhistorical compatibilists like Harry Frankfurt, that there is still life left in a nonhistorical view. The historical compatibilists, I contend, have fallen shy of discrediting their nonhistorical compatibilist rivals. (shrink)
In Book II, chapter xxi of the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, on ‘Power’, Locke presents a radical critique of free will. This is the longest chapter in the Essay, and it is a difficult one, not least since Locke revised it four times without always taking care to ensure that every part cohered with the rest. My interest is to work out a coherent statement of what would today be termed ‘compatibilism’ from this text – namely, a doctrine which (...) seeks to render free will and determinism compatible. By emphasizing the hedonistic dimension of his argument, according to which we are determined by “the most pressing uneasiness” we feel, I show how a deterministic reading is possible. This was seen by Locke’s favorite and also most radical disciple, the deist Anthony Collins, whose treatise A Philosophical Inquiry Concerning Human Liberty (1717) is both a critique of Essay II.xxi and a radicalization of its contents. I argue that Collins articulated a form of determinism which recognizes the specificity of action, thanks in large part to the uniquely ‘volitional’ determinism suggested by Locke. (shrink)
The paper argues that it is possible for an incompatibilist to accept John Martin Fischer’s plausible insistence that the question whether we are morally responsible agents ought not to depend on whether the laws of physics turn out to be deterministic or merely probabilistic. The incompatibilist should do so by rejecting the fundamentalism which entails that the question whether determinism is true is a question merely about the nature of the basic physical laws. It is argued that this is a (...) better option for ensuring the irrelevance of physics than the embrace of semi-compatibilism, since there are reasons for supposing that alternate possibilities are necessary for moral responsibility, despite Fischer’s claims to the contrary. There are two distinct reasons for supposing that alternate possibilities might be necessary for moral responsibility—one of which is to do with fairness, the other to do with agency itself. It is suggested that if one focuses on the second of these reasons, Fischer’s arguments for supposing that alternate possibilities are unnecessary for moral responsibility can be met by the incompatibilist. Some possible reasons for denying that alternate possibilities are necessary for the existence of agency are then raised and rejected. (shrink)
Helen Beebee has recently argued that David Lewis’s account of compatibilism, so-called local miraclecompatibilism (LMC), allows for the possibility that agents in deterministic worlds have the ability to break or cause the breaking of a law of nature. Because Lewis’s LMC allows for this consequence, Beebee claims that LMC is untenable and subsequently that Lewis’s criticism of van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument for incompatibilism is substantially weakened. I review Beebee’s argument against Lewis’s thesis and argue that Beebee (...) has not refuted LMC and concomitantly has not demonstrated that Lewis’s criticism of the Consequence Argument fails. (shrink)
In this paper, I try to show that externalist compatibilism in the debate on personal autonomy and manipulated freedom is as yet untenable. I will argue that Alfred R. Mele’s paradigmatic, history-sensitive externalism about psychological autonomy in general and autonomous deliberation in particular faces an insurmountable problem: it cannot satisfy the crucial condition of adequacy “H” for externalist theories that I formulate in the text. Specifically, I will argue that, contrary to first appearances, externalist compatibilism does not resolve (...) the CNC manipulation problem. After briefly reflecting on the present status of responses to the manipulation problem in the debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists of various stripes, I will draw the over-all pessimistic conclusion that no party deals with this problem satisfactorily. (shrink)
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).. (shrink)
Local miracle compatibilists claim that we are sometimes able to do otherwise than we actually do, even if causal determinism obtains. When we can do otherwise, it will often be true that if we were to do otherwise, then an actual law of nature would not have been a law of nature. Nevertheless, it is a compatibilist principle that we cannot do anything that would be or cause an event that violates the laws of nature. Carl Ginet challenges this nomological (...) principle, arguing that it is not always capable of explaining our inability to do otherwise. In response to this challenge, I point out that this principle is part of a defense against the charge that local miracle compatibilists are committed to outlandish claims. Thus it is not surprising that the principle, by itself, will often fail to explain our inability to do otherwise. I then suggest that in many situations in which we are unable to do otherwise, this can be explained by the compatibilist’s analysis of ability, or his criteria for the truth of ability claims. Thus, the failure of his nomological principle to explain the falsity of certain ability claims is no strike against local miracle compatibilism. (shrink)
Terry Horgan (with D. Henderson and G. Graham) defends a new general metaphilosophical position called postanalytic metaphilosophy (PAM). I raise some critical points connected with the application of PAM to the problem of freedom. I question the distinction between opulent and austere construals of philosophical concepts. According to Horgan compatibilism comports better overall with the relevant data than does incompatibilism. I raise some objections. At the end I argue that contextualism is an inadequate explanation of incompatibilistic intuitions.
So-called “manipulation arguments” have played a significant role in recent debates between compatibilists and incompatibilists. Incompatibilists take such arguments to show that agents who lack ultimate control over their characters or actions are not free. Most compatibilists agree that manipulated agents are not free but think this is because certain of the agent’s psychological capacities have been compromised. Chandra Sekhar Sripada has conducted an interesting study in which he applies an array of statistical tools to subjects’ intuitive responses to a (...) manipulation case, and he insists that the results of his study provide compelling evidence that people favor compatibilist views of freedom. I argue that because the case that forms the centerpiece of his study is relevantly different from the sort of cases incompatibilists have developed and because he fails to build deterministic conditions into this case, Sripada’s data cannot help settle the disagreement between compatibilists and incompatibilists. (shrink)
Any satisfactory account of freedom must capture, or at least permit, the mysteriousness of freedom—a “sweet” mystery involving a certain kind of ignorance rather than a “sour” mystery of unintelligibility, incoherence, or unjustifiedness. I argue that compatibilism can capture the sweet mystery of freedom. I argue first that an action is free if and only if a certain “rationality constraint” is satisfied, and that nothing in standard libertarian accounts of freedom entails its satisfaction. Satisfaction of this constraint is consistent (...) with the universal causal predetermination of action (UCP). If UCP is true and the rationality constraint satisfied, there’s a sense in which our actions are explanatorily (though not necessarily causally) overdetermined. While it seems plausible (given UCP) that our actions are so overdetermined, it seems utterly mysterious why they should be so overdetermined. Compatibilism’s capacity to accommodate this mystery is a mark in its favor. (shrink)
Two issues are raised with regard to Ted Honderich's A Theory of Determinism. First, regarding the relation between a token identity theory of mental and physical events and Honderich's ?psychoneural union theory?, it is suggested that a token identity theory would serve Honderich's purposes while securing a simpler ontology. Second, it is argued that there is a substantive philosophical issue dividing compatibilists and incompatibilists on the question of whether persons possess free will, contrary to Honderich's contention that the compatibilist and (...) incompatibilist differ only in responsive attitude. (shrink)
This paper 1) argues that libertarians are virtually as badly off as compatibilists in the face of the objection to the Free Will Defence that omnipotent God could have ensured that all free beings always but freely did right, and 2) explores the prospects for an "upgraded" Free Will Defense which takes freedom merely as a necessary condition for a further higher good which logically could not be achieved if God employed any of the available strategies--under both compatibilist and libertarian (...) assumptions--for creating morally free beings without the risk of moral evil. (shrink)
In the debate on free will and moral responsibility, Saul Smilansky is a hard source-incompatibilist who objects to source-compatibilism for being morally shallow. After criticizing John Martin Fischer’s too optimistic response to this objection, this paper dissipates the charge that compatibilist accounts of ultimate origination are morally shallow by appealing to the seriousness of contingency in the framework of, what Paul Russell calls, compatibilist-fatalism. Responding to the objection from moral shallowness thus drives a wedge between optimists and fatalists within (...) the compatibilist camp. (shrink)
Some argue that libertarianism represents the riskier incompatibilist view when it comes to the free will problem. An ethically cautious incompatibilist should bet that we are not free in the sense required for moral responsibility, these theorists claim, as doing so means that we no longer run the risk of holding the morally innocent responsible. In this paper, I show that the same reasoning also advises us to bet against compatibilism. Supposing that we are unsure about whether or not (...) the causal order of the world is compatible with the kind of freedom that is required for moral responsibility, an ethically cautious approach would once again bet that hard incompatibilism is true. (shrink)
Further Thoughts on Counterfactuals, Compatibilism, Conceptual Mismatches, and Choices: Response to Commentaries Content Type Journal Article Pages 31-34 DOI 10.1007/s12152-010-9067-3 Authors Roy F. Baumeister, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL USA A. William Crescioni, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL USA Jessica L. Alquist, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL USA Journal Neuroethics Online ISSN 1874-5504 Print ISSN 1874-5490 Journal Volume Volume 4 Journal Issue Volume 4, Number 1.
We “prepunish” a person if we punish her prior to the commission of her crime. This essay discusses our intuitions about the permissibility of prepunishment and the relationship between prepunishment and compatibilism about free will and determinism. It has recently been argued that compatibilism has particular trouble generating a principled objection to prepunishment. The failure to provide such an objection may be a problem for compatibilism if our moral intuitions strongly favor the prohibition of prepunishment. In defense (...) of compatibilism, I argue that while no objection to prepunishment is entailed by the central tenets of compatibilism, this does not necessarily show that compatibilism conflicts with our moral intuitions. And while there may be no distinctly compatibilist objection to prepunishment, there are common-sense objections to prepunishment of which the compatibilist can make use, at least under actual-world circumstances. And, while these common-sense objections might be inoperative in certain non-actual circumstances, it is not clear that support for prepunishment would be unintuitive in these circumstances. (shrink)
Recently there have been a number of attempts to show that free will is not a necessary condition for moral responsibility. It is argued that moral responsibility can be shown to be compatible with determinism even if free will is not. I assess the two most prominent arguments for this position and conclude that neither is sound. There is, however, an argument which does make a prima facie case for this new form of compatibilism. This argument, however, is not (...) decisive. I maintain that what can be learned from the argument’s short-comings is that the free will problem can only be resolved by appeal to moral theory. We need some method by which competing intuitions about the matter can be adjudicated. (shrink)
Philosophical compatibilism reconciles moral responsibility with determinism, and some neurolaw scholars think that it can also reconcile legal views about responsibility with scientific findings about the neurophysiological basis of human action. Although I too am a compatibilist, this paper argues that philosophical compatibilism cannot be transplanted “as-is” from philosophy into law. Rather, before compatibilism can be re-deployed, it must first be modified to take account of differences between legal and moral responsibility, and between a scientific and a (...) deterministic world view, and to address a range of conceptual, normative, empirical and doctrinal problems that orbit its capacitarian core. (shrink)
The compatibilist position on the free will problem tends to be perceived as clear, rather unitary and consistent even by those who oppose it. This notion is mistaken, and is harmful to the recognition of the weaknesses and strengths of compatibilism. By examining the three main compatibilist positions and their interrelationships, I attempt to see whether compatibilists can continue to hold together the different positions; and if they cannot, which position they should remain with. The conclusions reached are that (...) compatibilists ought to opt for one (‘control’) type of compatibilism, but that compatibilism is only partially convincing. (shrink)
Semi-compatibilism regarding responsibility is the position according to which determinism is compatible with moral responsibility quite apart from whether determinism rules out the sort of freedom that involves access to alternative possibilities. I motivate the view that whether or not semi-compat..
In this paper, I explore some of the motivations behind John Martin Fischer's semi-compatibilism. Particularly, I look at three reasons Fischer gives for preferring semi-compatibilism to libertarianism. I argue that the first two of these motivations are in tension with each other: the more one is m..
In this paper, I explore a new approach to the problem of determinism and moral responsibility. This approach involves asking when someone has a compelling claim to exemption against other members of the moral community. I argue that it is sometimes fair to reject such claims, even when the agent doesn’t deserve, in the sense of basic desert, to be blamed for her conduct. In particular, when an agent’s conduct reveals that her commitment to comply with the standards of the (...) moral community is deficient, and when her demand for exemption further exemplifies this deficiency, she cannot complain of unfair treatment if her demand is rejected. To support this contention, I argue that we are sometimes justified in rejecting otherwise valid moral appeals on the grounds that they are cynically motivated, especially when an agent merely seeks to exploit our commitment to comply with reasonable interpersonal standards. An advantage of this approach is that it affords compatibilists a middle path, allowing them to defend our practice of blaming on non-consequentialist grounds of fairness, even as they acknowledge the force of arguments for incompatibilism about basic desert. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss Hud Hudson's compatibilistic interpretation of Kant's theory of free will, which is based on Davidson's anomalous monism. I sketch an alternative interpretation of my own, an incompatibilistic interpretation according to which agents qua noumena are responsible for the particular causal laws which determine the actions of agents qua phenomena. Hudson's interpretation should be attractive to philosophers who value Kant's epistemology and ethics, but insist on a deflationary reading of things in themselves. It is in an (...) incompatibilist interpretation of Kant's theory of free will that a "positive" conception of noumena is at its most important. If a compatibilistic interpretation is acceptable, one might suppose that we can do without a "positive" conception of noumena throughout Kant's philosophy. I demonstrate, however, that there are central elements of Kant's theory of free will that cannot be accommodated within Hudson's interpretation. (shrink)
Compatibilists disagree over whether there are historical conditions on moral responsibility. Historicists claim there are, whilst structuralists deny this. Historicists motivate their position by claiming to avoid the counter-intuitive implications of structuralism. I do two things in this paper. First, I argue that historicism has just as counter-intuitive implications as structuralism when faced with thought experiments inspired by those found in the personal identity literature. Hence, historicism is not automatically preferable to structuralism. Second, I argue that structuralism is much more (...) plausible once we accept that personal identity is irrelevant to moral responsibility. This paves the way for a new structuralist account that makes clear what it takes to be the diachronic ownership condition (which is normally taken to be personal identity) and the locus of moral responsibility (which is normally taken to be ‘whole’ person), and helps to alleviate the intuitive unease many have with respect to structuralism. (shrink)
Terry Horgan University of Memphis In this paper I address the problem of causal exclusion, specifically as it arises for mental properties (although the scope of the discussion is more general, being applicable to other kinds of putatively causal properties that are not identical to narrowly physical causal properties, i.e., causal properties posited by physics). I summarize my own current position on the matter, and I offer a defense of this position. I draw upon and synthesize relevant discussions in various (...) <blockquote>  </blockquote> other papers of mine (some collaborative) that bear on this topic. (shrink)
This article distinguishes among and examines three different kinds of argument for the thesis that moral responsibility and free action are each incompatible with the truth of determinism: straight manipulation arguments; manipulation arguments to the best explanation; and original-design arguments. Structural and methodological matters are the primary focus.