The debate over whether Frankfurt-style cases are counterexamples to the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) has taken an interesting turn in recent years. Frankfurt originally envisaged his attack as an attempting to show that PAP is false—that the ability to do otherwise is not necessary for moral responsibility. To many this attack has failed. But Frankfurtians have not conceded defeat. Neo-Frankfurtians, as I will call them, argue that the upshot of Frankfurt-style cases is not that PAP is (...) false, but that it is explanatorily irrelevant. Derk Pereboom and David Hunt’s buffer cases are tailor made to establish this conclusion. In this paper I come to the aid of PAP, showing that buffer cases provide no reason for doubting either its truth or relevance with respect to explaining an agent’s moral responsibility. (shrink)
This is the introduction to a volume of new essays in the metaphysics of moral responsibility by John Martin Fischer, Carl Ginet, Ishtiyaque Haji, Alfred R. Mele, Derk Pereboom, Paul Russell, and Peter van Inwagen. I provide some background for the essays, cover the main debates in the metaphysics of moral responsibility, and emphasize some of the authors' contributions to this area of philosophy.
According to the principle of alternate possibilities (PAP), a person is morally responsible for an action only if he could have done otherwise. PAP underlies a familiar argument for the incompatibility of moral responsibility with determinism. I argue that Harry Frankfurt's famous argument against PAP is unsuccessful if PAP is interpreted as a principle about blameworthiness. My argument turns on the maxim that "ought implies can" as well as a "finely-nuanced" view of the object of blame. To (...) reject PAP on the blameworthiness interpretation, we must reject either this maxim or the finely-nuanced view or some other apparently innocuous assumption. (shrink)
In 1969 harry frankfurt attacked the principle of alternate possibilities, I.E., The principle that one is morally responsible for what one has done only if one could have done otherwise. The first two parts of this paper offer a supplement to and clarification of that principle; the third part defends the supplemented version of it against three frankfurt arguments; and the fourth comments on a recent discussion of it by michael zimmerman.
Some defenders of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) have responded to the challenge of Frankfurt-style counterexamples (FSCs) to PAP by arguing that there remains a flicker of freedom -- that is, an alternative possibility for action -- left to the agent in FSCs. I argue that the flicker of freedom strategy is unsuccessful. The strategy requires the supposition that doing an act-on-one''s-own is itself an action of sorts. I argue that either this supposition is confused and (...) leads to counter-intuitive results; or, if the supposition is acceptable, then it is possible to use it to construct a FSC in which there is no flicker of freedom at all. Either way, the flicker of freedom strategy is ineffective against FSCs. Since the flicker of freedom strategy is arguably the best defense of PAP, I conclude that FSCs are successful in showing that PAP is false. An agent can act with moral responsibility without having alternative possibilities available to her. (shrink)
According to the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP), a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. Widerker (Philosophical Perspectives 14: 181-201, 2000) offers an intriguing argument for PAP as it applies to moral blameworthiness. His argument is known as the “What-should-he-have-done defense” of PAP or the “W-defense” for short. In a recent article, Capes (Philosophical Studies 150: 61-77, 2010) attacks Widerker’s argument by rejecting the central premise on which it (...) rests, namely, the premise that a person is blameworthy for his action only if in the circumstances it would be morally reasonable to expect him not to have acted as he did. In this paper, I show that Capes’ criticism does not undermine this premise and, to this extent, Widerker’s argument is safe from Capes’ attack. (shrink)
Nanoparticles have multifaceted advantages in drug administration as vaccine delivery and hence hold promises for improving protection of farmed fish against diseases caused by pathogens. However, there are concerns that the benefits associated with distribution of nanoparticles may also be accompanied with risks to the environment and health. The complexity of the natural and social systems involved implies that the information acquired in quantified risk assessments may be inadequate for evidence-based decisions. One controversial strategy for dealing with this kind of (...) uncertainty is the precautionary principle. A few years ago, an UNESCO expert group suggested a new approach for implementation of the principle. Here we compare the UNESCO principle with earlier versions and explore the advantages and disadvantages by employing the UNESCO version to the use of PLGA nanoparticles for delivery of vaccines in aquaculture. Finally, we discuss whether a combined scientific and ethical analysis that involves the concept of responsibility will enable approaches that can provide a supplement to the precautionary principle as basis for decision-making in areas of scientific uncertainty, such as the application of nanoparticles in the vaccination of farmed fish. (shrink)
I defend the view that if one ought (morally) always to do the best one can, there cannot be a wrong action one cannot avoid performing for which one is morally responsible. I also argue that there cannot be a wrong action to which there are no alternative possibilities for which an agent is morally responsible if the thesis that ought' implies can' is true. My argument against a fully general principle of alternative possibilities does have implications, (...) which I briefly discuss, for conditions that must be satisfied if a person is to be blameworthy for performing actions. (shrink)
The philosophical debate over the compatibility between causaldeterminism and moral responsibility relies heavily on ourreactions to examples. Although we believe that there is noalternative to this methodology in this area of philosophy, someexamples that feature prominently in the literature are positivelymisleading. In this vein, we criticize the use that incompatibilistsmake of the phenomenon of ``brainwashing,'''' as well as the Frankfurt-styleexamples favored by compatibilists. We provide an instance of thekind of thought experiment that is needed to genuinely test thehypothesis that (...) moral accountability and causal determinism arecompatible. (shrink)
: The principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) says that doing something freely implies being able to do otherwise. I show that Descartes consistently believed not only in PAP, but also in clear and distinct determinism (CDD), which claims that we sometimes cannot but judge true what we clearly perceive. Because Descartes thinks judgment is always a free act, PAP and CDD seem contradictory, but Descartes consistently resolved this apparent contradiction by distinguishing between two senses of 'could have done (...) otherwise.' In one sense alternative possibilities are necessary for freedom and in another they are not. I discuss three possible interpretations of the two senses. (shrink)
In his classic paper, The Principle of Alternate Possibilities, Harry Frankfurt presented counterexamples to the principle named in his title: A person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. He went on to argue that the falsity of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP) implied that the debate between the compatibilists and the incompatibilists (as regards determinism and the ability to do otherwise) did not have the significance that both (...) parties had attributed to it -- since moral responsibility could exist even if no one was able to do otherwise. I have argued that even if PAP is false, there are other principles that imply that moral responsibility entails the ability to do otherwise, and that these principles are immune to Frankfurt-style counterexamples. Frankfurt has attempted to show that my arguments for this conclusion fail. This paper is a rejoinder to that reply; I argue that he has failed to show this. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine a new line of response to Frankfurt’s challenge to the traditional association of moral responsibility with the ability to do otherwise. According to this response, Frankfurt’s counterexample strategy fails, not in light of the conditions for moral responsibility per se, but in view of the conditions for action. Specifically, it is claimed, a piece of behavior counts as an action only if it is within the agent’s power to avoid performing it. In so (...) far as Frankfurt’s challenge presupposes that actions can be unavoidable, this view of action seems to bring his challenge up short. Helen Steward and Maria Alvarez have independently proposed versions of this response. Here I argue that this response is unavailable to Frankfurt’s incompatibilist opponents. This becomes evident when we put this question to its proponents: “Are actions that originate deterministically ipso facto unavoidable?” If they answer “yes,” they encounter one horn of a dilemma. If they answer “no,” they encounter the other horn. Since no one has a clearer stake in meeting Frankfurt’s challenge than these theorists do, it is significant that the Steward-Alvarez response is unavailable to them. (shrink)
In the first part of the paper, three objections to the precautionary principle are outlined: the principle requires some account of how to balance risks of significant harms; the principle focuses on action and ignores the costs of inaction; and the principle threatens epistemic anarchy. I argue that these objections may overlook two distinctive features of precautionary thought: a suspicion of the value of “full scientific certainty”; and a desire to distinguish environmental doings from allowings. In (...) Section 2, I argue that any simple distinction between environmental doings and allowings is untenable. However, I argue that the appeal of such a distinction can be captured within a relational account of environmental equity. In Section 3 I show how the proposed account of environmental justice can generate a justification for distinctively “precautionary” policy-making. (shrink)
The tragic crash of Air New Zealand's flight TE-901 into Mt. Erebus in Antarctica provides a fascinating case for the exploration of the notion of corporate moral responsibility. A principle of accountability that has Aristotelian roots and is significantly different from the usual strict intentional action principles is examined and defined. That principle maintains that a person can be held morally accountable for previous non-intentional behavior that has harmful effects if the person does not take corrective measures (...) to adjust his ways of behavior so as not to produce repetitions. This principle is then applied to the Mt. Erebus disaster. (shrink)
The Perceived Role of Ethics and Social Responsibility (PRESOR) instrument was developed in the United States by Singhapakdi et al. (1996b) as a reliable and valid scale to measure the perceived role of ethics and social responsibility in achieving organizational effectiveness. This study was carried out to confirm the factorial structure of the instrument and to assess its reliability and validity for use in Hong Kong, the finance and service heart of the Asia-Pacific region and a culture with (...) clear differences in ethical attitudes and perceptions from those of the United States. Constructive replication of the exploratory factor analytic procedure of the original study with a representative sample of Hong Kong managers failed to support the hypothesized scale structure but instead suggested a different, two-factor, structure. Confirmatory factor analysis defined the alternative model which comprised two interpretable, negatively intercorrelated factorial scales, "Importance of ethics and social responsibility" and "Subordination of ethics and social responsibility in the achievement of organizational effectiveness". The model showed a high level of goodness-of-fit for the population and the two subscales, comprised of five items and four items respectively, were shown to have acceptable internal consistency reliability. Correlational and multiple regression analysis showed highly significant levels of association with the ethical ideology dimensions of the EPQ (Forsyth, 1980), used in the validation of the original scale, and with two ethical philosophy subscales derived from the ATBEQ (Preble and Reichel, 1988). The instrument is short, easily administered, is psychometrically sound and has considerable potential in the study of the perceived role of ethics and social responsibility in the achievement of organizational effectiveness. (shrink)
In this paper I refute an apparently obvious objection to Frankfurt-type counterexamples to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities according to which if in the counterfactual scenario the agent does not act, then the agent could have avoided acting in the actual scenario. And because what happens in the counterfactual scenario cannot count as the relevant agent’s actions given the sort of external control that agent is under, then we can ground responsibility on that agent having been able to (...) avoid acting. I illustrate how this objection to Frankfurt’s famous counterexample is motivated by Frankfurt’s own ‘guidance’ view of agency. My argument consists in showing that even if we concede that the agent does not act in the counterfactual scenario, that does not show that the agent could have avoided acting in the actual scenario. This depends on the crucial distinction between ‘not φ-ing’ and ‘avoiding φ-ing’. (shrink)
The best representatives of the self-reflection of xinxue 心学 (the School of Mind) and its development during the Ming and Qing Dynasties are the three masters from the late Ming Dynasty. The overall tendency is to shake off the internal constraints of the School of Mind by studying the Confucian classics and history. During the Qing Dynasty, Dai Zhen had attempted to set up a theoretical system based on Confucian classics and history, offering a theoretical foundation for a new academic (...) movement that gradually suspended issues studied by the School of Mind. But the suspension of these issues does not mean they were resolved. For Peng Shaosheng, xinzong 心宗 (the Doctrine of Mind) has emerged from a bottleneck in the development of the Confucian yi li zhi xue 义理之学 (doctrine of meanings and principles): The only way to find the transcendent connection between the doctrine of meanings and principles and the Dao was through the internality of belief. In this case, the Lay Buddhists, represented by Peng Shaosheng, Wang Dashen and Luo Yougao, as lixue biepai 理学别派 (Alternative School of Principles), played the role that the School of Mind had undertaken in the late Ming Dynasty, thus becoming a shelter for the Confucian doctrine of meanings and principles. To a certain extent, the revival of weishixue 唯识学 (the Consciousness-Only School) during modern times was simply a continuance of the “Alternative School of Principles”. It took over the Lay Buddhist theme of the doctrine of meanings and principles of the Qing Dynasty and tried to construct a new pattern of learning for Confucian classics that matched up with the doctrine of meanings and principles, offering a model of integration for the reconstruction of the Confucian tradition. (shrink)
The best representatives of the self-reflection of xinxue 心学 (the School of Mind) and its development during the Ming and Qing Dynasties are the three masters from the late Ming Dynasty. The overall tendency is to shake off the internal constraints of the School of Mind by studying the Confucian classics and history. During the Qing Dynasty, Dai Zhen had attempted to set up a theoretical system based on Confucian classics and history, offering a theoretical foundation for a new academic (...) movement that gradually suspended issues studied by the School of Mind. But the suspension of these issues does not mean they were resolved. For Peng Shaosheng, xinzong 心宗 (the Doctrine of Mind) has emerged from a bottleneck in the development of the Confucian yi li zhi xue 义理之学 (doctrine of meanings and principles): The only way to find the transcendent connection between the doctrine of meanings and principles and the Dao was through the internality of belief. In this case, the Lay Buddhists, represented by Peng Shaosheng, Wang Dashen and Luo Yougao, as lixue biepai 理学别派 (Alternative School of Principles), played the role that the School of Mind had undertaken in the late Ming Dynasty, thus becoming a shelter for the Confucian doctrine of meanings and principles. To a certain extent, the revival of weishixue 唯识学 (the Consciousness-Only School) during modern times was simply a continuance of the "Alternative School of Principles". It took over the Lay Buddhist theme of the doctrine of meanings and principles of the Qing Dynasty and tried to construct a new pattern of learning for Confucian classics that matched up with the doctrine of meanings and principles, offering a model of integration for the reconstruction of the Confucian tradition. /// 明清之际对心学的检讨以及心学内部的发展，以晚明三大师为代表，其总的 倾向是以经史之学的学问方式走出心学的内在性束缚。到了清代，戴震则尝试从独 玩的经史之学出发建设--种新的理论系统，试图为这一逐渐搁置心学问题的新的学 术运动提供理论基础。不过，心学的被搁置，并不意味着心学所指涉问题的消失。 彭绍升的 "心宗" 已经突破了儒家义理学发展的瓶径; 义理学与道体的超越关联必 须透过信仰的内在性来获得。以彭钥升、汪大绅、罗有高为代表的居士佛教，作为 "理学别派承担起了在晚明由心学所承担的功能，从而成为儒家义理学的寄身 之所。近代唯识学的复兴，在→定意义上是对 "理学别派" 的继承。小仅在义理学 的意义上接过了清代居士佛学的主题，更在清代朴学的传统上，尝试亘:构·种与义 理学配合的新的经学模式，在唯识学的基盘上为重构儒学传统提供了-种极有意义 的整合模式。. (shrink)
Here it is argued that in order for something someone “does” to count as a genuine action, the person needn’t have been able to refrain from doing it. If this is right, then two recent defenses of the principle of alternative possibilities, a version of which says that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have refrained from doing it, are unsuccessful.
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.
Harry Frankfurt has famously criticized the principle of alternate possibilities—the principle that an agent is morally responsible for performing some action only if able to have done otherwise than to perform it—on the grounds that it is possible for an agent to be morally responsible for performing an action that is inevitable for the agent when the reasons for which the agent lacks alternate possibilities are not the reasons for which the agent has acted. I argue that an (...) incompatibilist about determinism and moral responsibility can safely ignore so-called “Frakfurt-style cases” and continue to argue for incompatibilism on the grounds that determinism rules out the ability to do otherwise. My argument relies on a simple—indeed, simplistic—weakening of the principle of alternate possibilities that is explicitly designed to be immune to Frankfurt-style criticism. This alternative to the principle of alternate possibilities is so simplistic that it will no doubt strike many readers as philosophically fallow. I argue that it is not. I argue that the addition of one highly plausible premise allows for the modified principle to be employed in an argument for incompatibilism that begins with the observation that determinism rules out the ability to do otherwise. On the merits of this argument I conclude that deterministic moral responsibility is impossible and that Frankfurt’s criticism of the principle of alternate possibilities—even if successful to that end—may be safely ignored. (shrink)
The traditional debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists was based on the assumption that if determinism deprives us of free will and moral responsibility, it does so by making it true that we can never do other than what we actually do. All parties to the debate took for granted the truth of a claim now widely known as "the principle of alternate possibilities": someone is morally responsible only if he could have done otherwise. In a famous paper, Harry (...) Frankfurt argued that the principle of alternate possibilities is false. I argue that Frankfurt's argument rests on a modal fallacy. (shrink)
El objetivo del presente trabajo es defender el Principio de posibilidades alternativas (ppa) frente a dos recientes supuestos contraejemplos a éste, inspirados en el que diseñó, hace ya cuarenta años, Harry Frankfurt. Las tres primeras secciones resumen el estado de la cuestión. A partir de la cuar..
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. (shrink)
Harry g frankfurt gave what has been taken to be a counter-Example to the principle that, "a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise." I argue that in his case the agent cannot be morally responsible for what he did, Because it was not within his power not to be compelled to do it. So frankfurt's case is not a counter-Example to this principle.
Eleonore Stump has argued that a proponent of libertarian freedom must maintain that an agent is sometimes morally responsible for his mental action and that such moral responsibility is incompatible with that mental action’s being causally determined. Nevertheless, she maintains that this moral responsibility does not require that the agent be free to perform another mental action (act otherwise). In this paper, I argue that Stump fails to make a good case against the view that moral responsibility (...) requires the freedom to act otherwise. (shrink)
Many philosophers and medical scientists assume thatdisease categories or entities used to classify concrete cases ofdisease, are often defined by disease mechanisms or causalprocesses. Others suggest that diseases should always be definedin this manner. This paper discusses these standpoints criticallyand concludes that they are untenable, not only when `diseasemechanism' refers to an objective mechanism, but also when`mechanism' refers to a pragmatically demarcated part of thetotal ``objective'' causal structure of diseases. As an alternativeto principles that use the concept of disease mechanism (...) oranalogous concepts, a pragmatic approach is suggested anddescribed. This approach has been suggested before, but inproblematic or inadequate versions. This paper proposes a versioncompiled of two ``pragmatic principles'' and shows that they aremuch more adequate than the principle of disease mechanism. Withreference to a case study of a still ongoing internationaldiscussion of various candidates for a classification system formalignant lymphomas, including REAL (Revised European–AmericanClassification of Lymphoid Neoplasms) in which the concept ofdisease mechanism or analogous concepts plays a very small part,it is shown just how pivotal these two pragmatic principles canbe in actual discussions of definitions of diseases. Finally, itis pointed out that with regard to modern philosophy of languageit may, at least in some cases, be problematic to distinguishbetween the two pragmatic principles as they stand. (shrink)
The Principle of Alternative Possibilities is the intuitive idea that someone is morally responsible for an action only if she could have done otherwise. Harry Frankfurt has famously presented putative counterexamples to this intuitive principle. In this paper, I formulate a simple version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a course-grained notion of actions. After warming up with a Frankfurt-Style Counterexample to this principle, I introduce a new kind of counterexample based on (...) the possibility of time travel. At the end of the paper, I formulate a more sophisticated version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a certain fine grained notion of actions. I then explain how this new kind of counterexample can be augmented to show that even the more sophisticated principle is false. (shrink)
Most analysts agree that democratic theorists have not offered a persuasive answer to the question of how the boundaries of a demos, a democratic people, should legitimately be defined. Some contend that boundaries should be maintained in ways that preserve sufficient sense of common identity to sustain support for redistributive policies. Many others endorse the “principle of all affected interests,” but it has been widely criticized as unrealistically destructive of too many existing community boundaries. This essay argues for an (...)alternative “principle of constituted identities.” It holds that, subject to certain important qualifications, modern constitutional democracies, at least, are morally obligated to extend the option of full membership to all those whose identities have been substantially constituted through such regimes’ coercive policies. Keywords : civic boundaries; principle of affected interests; constitutional democracy; stories of peoplehood; cultural identity (Published online: 25 August, 2008) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics 2008. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v1i3.1860. (shrink)
In 1969 Harry Frankfurt published his hugely influential paper 'Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility' in which he claimed to present a counterexample to the so-called 'Principle of Alternate Possibilities' ('a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise'). The success of Frankfurt-style cases as counterexamples to the Principle has been much debated since. I present an objection to these cases that, in questioning their conceptual cogency, undercuts many of those (...) debates. Such cases all require a counterfactual mechanism that could cause an agent to perform an action that he cannot avoid performing. I argue that, given our concept of what it is for someone to act, this requirement is inconsistent. Frankfurt-style alleged counterexamples are cases where an agent is morally responsible for an action he performs even though, the claim goes, he could not have avoided performing that action. However, it has recently been argued, e.g. by John Fischer, that a counterexample to the Principle could be a 'Fischer-style case', i.e. a case where the agent can either perform the action or do nothing else. I argue that, although Fischer-style cases do not share the conceptual flaw common to all Frankfurt-style cases, they also fail as counterexamples to the Principle. The paper finishes with a brief discussion of the significance of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities. (shrink)
I present two different models of moral responsibility -- two different accounts of what we value in behavior for which the agent can legitimately be held morally responsible. On the first model, what we value is making a certain sort of difference to the world. On the second model, which I favor, we value a certain kind of self-expression. I argue that if one adopts the self-expression view, then one will be inclined to accept that moral responsibility need (...) not require alternative possibilities. (shrink)
Out-of-court proceedings or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a peaceful, voluntary alternative method for settling disputes without litigation in the court. ADR institutions usually use a third party to help the consumer and the trader reach a solution. The main purpose of this article is to share the main insights and experience about the out-of-court proceedings in various countries and present main trends of ADR development. First of all, in this article, ADR is presented and its main advantages (...) or disadvantages, main reasons of its origin are outlined. For example, ADR institutions are indeed a low-cost and quick alternative for consumers to settle disputes with businesses. These are the main reasons why ADR originated and developed so fast in the United States of America. Secondly, it is important to analyse various definitions used to describe ADR and its characteristics, because it is a very complicated and complex phenomenon. ADR and the principle of legal accessibility are also very closely related issues which are deeply analysed in this article. (shrink)
Many now accept that Frankfurt-style cases refute the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP). But, in this paper I argue that even if Frankfurt-style cases refute PAP they do not refute a related principle: the principle of avoidable blame (PAB). My argument develops from the observation that an agent in a Frankfurt-style case can be aware of the nature of their situation without this undermining their moral responsibility. I then argue that PAB captures all that is (...) important about PAP such that the refutation of PAP is of no concern as long as PAB survives. (shrink)
In a recent article, David Hunt has proposed a theological counterexample to the principle of alternative possibilities involving divine foreknowledge (G-scenario). Hunt claims that this example is immune to my criticism of regular Frankfurt-type counterexamples to that principle, as God’s foreknowing an agent’s act does not causally determine that act. Furthermore, he claims that the considerations which support the claim that the agent is morally responsible for his act in a Frankfurt-type scenario also hold in a G-scenario. (...) In reply, Icontest Hunt’s symmetry claim and also raise a worry whether, given theological fatalism, the agent’s act in a G-scenario can be deemed a free act in the libertarian sense. Finally, I offer an independent argument why in a G-scenario the agent should not regarded morally blameworthy for his act. (shrink)
Is choice necessary for moral responsibility? And does choice imply alternative possibilities of some significant sort? This paper will relate these questions to the argument initiated by Harry Frankfurt that alternative possibilities are not required for moral responsibility, and to John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza's extension of that argument in terms of guidance control in a causally determined world. I argue that attending to Frankfurt's core conceptual distinction between the circumstances that make an action unavoidable (...) and those that bring it about that the action is performed – a distinction emphasised in his recent restatement – provides a new route into an analysis of Frankfurt's argument by showing how it depends on a person's ‘decision to act’ involving the exercise of choice. The implicit reliance of Frankfurt's argument on this notion of choice, however, undermines his claim that the example of the counterfactual intervener strengthens the compatibilist case by providing a counter-example to the principle of alternative possibilities. I also argue that Frankfurt's reliance on the exercise of choice for moral responsibility is also evident in the Fischer/Ravizza argument, and that a close analysis of both arguments shows that such exercise of choice is not available if causal determinism is true. (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)
In ancient times--some fifteen years ago--I suggested that Frankfurt-type examples call into question the Principle of Transfer of Non-Responsibility (which I then called, a bit too narrowly, the “Principle of Transfer of Blamelessness,” following John Taurek’s usage in his fascinating Ph.D. dissertation at UCLA in 1972).[i] In the introductory essay to my anthology, Moral Responsibility, I presented a somewhat informal version of Van Inwagen’s modal principle (which he called Principle ‘B’), and (following Van Inwagen) (...) explained how it could be employed as part of a “direct” argument for the incompatibility of causal determinism and moral responsibility (i.e., an argument for the incompatibility claim that does not employ the claim that causal determinism rules out alternative possibilities). (shrink)
Academic literature recognizes that firms in different countries deal with corporate social responsibility (CSR) in different ways. Because of this, analysts presume that variations in national-institutional arrangements affect CSR practices. Literature, however, lacks specificity in determining, first, what parts of national political-economic configurations actually affect CSR practices; second, the precise aspects of CSR affected by national-institutional variables; third, how causal mechanisms between national-institutional framework variables and aspects of CSR practices work. Because of this the literature is not able to (...) address to what extent CSR practices are affected by either global or national policies, discourses and economic pressures; and to what extent CSR evolves as either an alternative to or an extension of national-institutional arrangements. This article proposes an alternative approach that focuses on an exploration of links between disaggregated variables, which can then be the basis for imagining new national-institutional configurations affecting aspects of CSR. It illustrates this approach with an exploration of the importance of development aid policy for CSR practices in global supply chains. (shrink)
The rapid development of assisted reproduction technologies for the treatment of infertility appears to empower women through expanding their individual choice, but it is also creating new forms of suffering for them and their collaborators, especially in the context of transnational third-party reproduction. This paper explores the possibility of framing the ethical discourse around third-party reproduction by bringing attention to concerns of altruistic empathy for women who collaborate in the reproductive process, in addition to those of individualistic choice. This would (...) entail moving beyond an ethic of liberty that is based on self-interest and the language of rights, to an alternative ethic of care that is based on self-restraint and the language of responsibilities. An ethic of care and responsibility would cultivate the empathetic self-reflection of the autonomous actor in relation to those others who are part of the enterprise of bringing a child into the world. (shrink)
The article analyzes one of the fundamental rights – the right to maintenance, which proper implementation ensures normal development of the child. This right matches with the duty of parents to maintain their minor children. Paragraph 6 of Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania states that parents have a duty to educate their children to be honest people and loyal citizens, supporting them until adulthood. The obligation to maintain children is established in the first 3.192 Article (...) paragraph of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania, and the responsibility for avoiding to maintain a child is provided in Article 164 of the Criminal Code. The article discusses the fact that the analysis of criminal law rate is not precise enough. Article 164 of the Criminal Code does not match with the child maintenance methods specified in the CC Article 3.196 paragraph 1. Since criminal liability is only for judgment in default in civil cases, a person shall only be liable for breaking the right to maintain a child, provided in the CC 3.196 paragraph 1. This article deeply analyzes the problematic qualification aspects of the avoidance to maintain a child. Some alternative ways of child maintenance are mentioned, as can be chosen from other law instruments (bailiffs, Guarantee child support fund) and it leads to the ultima ratio principle. On the other hand, it is not required to seek alternative remedies for affected interests, and it is possible to initiate a pre-trial investigation. Therefore, this article seeks to identify specific civil and criminal law rules delimitation. Avoidance of child maintenance is an ongoing crime. The main problem in legal practice is to determine an end of this ongoing criminal conduct. The practice of the Supreme Court of Lithuania is not unanimous. In some cases, the end of this ongoing conduct is considered to be a moment when the past judgment has entered into force, in other cases – the moment of indictment. These positions are criticized by many authors and it is suggested to follow the Supreme Court’s practice, according to which the moment when a judgment of conviction for the criminal act is passed should be considered as an end of an ongoing criminal conduct. (shrink)