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About this topic
Summary Semi-compatibilism is a view about moral responsibility developed by John Martin Fischer, alone and together with Mark Ravizza. Semi-compatibilism combines agnosticism about the compatibility of free will and determinism with compatibilism about moral responsibility: determinism is no threat to moral responsibility whether or not it threatens free will. Fischer's agnosticism about free will is a product of his reading of debates over the consequence argument, but he maintains that the sense of free will at issue in that debate is not required for moral responsibility. Fischer's work on Frankfurt-style cases develops an alternative basis for the attribution of moral responsibility.
Key works The central work setting out the case for semi-compatibilism is Fischer & Ravizza 1999. Fischer's important work on the consequence argument is best reflected in Fischer 1994. Since the Frankfurt-style cases play such an important role in motivating semi-compatibilism, criticism of the view has often turned on arguments that the cases do not establish the falsity of the principle of alternative possibilities. See especially Widerker 1995 and Speak 2002.
Introductions Fischer 1999;Fischer 2002;
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  1. Fischer, John Martin, 215/I28 Fisher, RA, 113/I84 Fogelin, Robert, 265/M5 Foley, Richard, 9, 15, 180/tlO, 264/I9, 280/Il, 313/Tl3. [REVIEW]Peter Achinstein - 1987 - In Luper-Foy Steven (ed.), The Possibility of Knowledge: Nozick and His Critics. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 327.
  2. An Analysis of Semi-Compatibilism.Gan Hun Ahn - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 15:7-12.
    Semi-compatibilists intend to reconcile moral responsibility with causal determinism, even if determinism is incompatible with freedom to do otherwise. For them, moral responsibility does not require free will, which is not a necessary condition for moral responsibility. They agree with the view that causal determinism is incompatible with free will. Free will is incompatible with determinism as well as moral responsibility. Both compatibilists and semi-compatibilists argue for the compatibility between determinism and moral responsibility. However, the latter fails to prove sufficiently (...)
  3. Kuno Fischer: An Estimate of His Life and Work.Archibald B. D. Alexander - 1908 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 5 (3):57-64.
  4. Free Will, Narrative, and Retroactive Self-Constitution.Roman Altshuler - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4):867-883.
    John Fischer has recently argued that the value of acting freely is the value of self-expression. Drawing on David Velleman’s earlier work, Fischer holds that the value of a life is a narrative value and free will is valuable insofar as it allows us to shape the narrative structure of our lives. This account rests on Fischer’s distinction between regulative control and guidance control. While we lack the former kind of control, on Fischer’s view, the latter is all that is (...)
  5. Book Review:Politics, Values, and Public Policy: The Problem of Methodology. Frank Fischer. [REVIEW]Charles W. Anderson - 1983 - Ethics 93 (3):625-.
  6. The Elusiveness of Doxastic Compatibilism.Benjamin Bayer - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (3):233-252.
    This paper evaluates recent proposals for compatibilism about doxastic freedom, and attempts to refine them by applying Fischer and Ravizza’s moderate reasons-responsiveness compatibilism to doxastic freedom. I argue, however, that even this refined version of doxastic compatibilism is subject to challenging counter-examples and is more difficult to support than traditional compatibilism about freedom of action. In particular, it is much more difficult to identify convincing examples of the sort Frankfurt proposed to challenge the idea that responsibility requires alternative possibilities.
  7. De Menscheliike Persoonlijkheid En de Bovenpersoonlijke Waarden.Nikolai Berdjajew - 1937 - Synthese 2 (1):503 - 511.
    Dit essay van Russische filosoof en cultuurcriticus Berdjajev verscheen in 1937 als een van de eerste essays in de reeks 'Ausblicke' van het Bermann-Fischer Verlag. Het is een van de klassieke teksten over menselijke waardigheid en afgoderij die tijdens het interbellum is geschreven.
  8. Why Compatibilists Need Alternative Possibilities.Reid Blackman - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):529-544.
    Defenders of compatibilism occupy one of two camps: those who think that free will requires the ability to do otherwise, and those who deny this. Those compatibilists who think that free will requires the ability to do otherwise are interested in defending a reading of ‘can’ such that one can do otherwise even if determinism is true. By contrast, those compatibilists who think that free will does not require the ability to do otherwise tend to join incompatibilists in denying that (...)
  9. John Martin Fischer, Ed., The Metaphysics of Death. [REVIEW]André Blom - 1993 - Philosophy in Review 13:307-308.
  10. John Martin Fischer, Ed., The Metaphysics of Death Reviewed By.André Blom - 1993 - Philosophy in Review 13 (6):307-308.
  11. John Martin Fischer, Deep Control. Essays on Free Will and Value.Sofia Bonicalzi - 2012 - Rivista di Storia Della Filosofia 67 (3):643.
  12. Review: Fischer and Ravizza on Moral Responsibility and History. [REVIEW]Michael E. Bratman - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):453 - 458.
  13. Fischer and Ravizza on Moral Responsibility and HistoryResponsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.Michael E. Bratman, John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):453.
  14. Fischer, JM-The Metaphysics of Free Will.S. Buss - 1997 - Philosophical Books 38:117-120.
  15. Review of John Fischer's Metaphysics of Free Will[REVIEW]Sarah Buss - 1997 - Philosophical Books 38 (2):117-121.
  16. Moral Responsibility and Omissions.Jeremy Byrd - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):56–67.
    Frankfurt-type examples seem to show that agents can be morally responsible for their actions and omissions even if they could not have done otherwise. Fischer and Ravizza's influential account of moral responsibility is largely based on such examples. I examine a problem with their account of responsibility in cases where we fail to act. The solution to this problem has a surprising and far reaching implication concerning the construction of successful Frankfurt-type examples. I argue that the role of the counterfactual (...)
  17. Responsibility, Character and the Emotions: New Essays in Moral Psychology. [REVIEW]David Carr - 1989 - Philosophical Books 30 (4):229-232.
  18. John Martin Fischer.Johnny Cash - 2007 - In John Martin Fischer (ed.), Four Views on Free Will. Blackwell. pp. 5--44.
  19. Strawson Contra Strawson: Moral Responsibility and Semi‐Compatibilism.Melvin Chen - 2014 - Philosophical Forum 45 (1):1-15.
    This paper addresses the Basic Argument in favour of incompatibilism, both in its Strawsonian form and in its weakened form (the CDA). After examining the worries raised by this argument, I will defend a version of semi-compatibilism that is motivated by a narrative theory of the self, arguing that moral responsibility is possible even if the thesis of determinism is taken to be incompatible with the thesis of freedom of will. The semi-compatibilist argument that I provide lowers the standard of (...)
  20. Determinism and Our Self-Conception. [REVIEW]Randolph Clarke - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):242-250.
    This paper is a contribution to a symposium on John Fischer's MY WAY. In much of that work, Fischer says, he aims to show the "resiliency of our fundamental conception of ourselves as possessing control and being morally responsible agents," and particularly the compatibility of that conception with determinism. I argue that his conclusions leave several important aspects of our ordinary conception of our agency hostage to determinism. Further, there is significant tension between certain of his views. I’ll suggest that (...)
  21. The Metaphysics of Free Will. [REVIEW]Randolph Clarke - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (3):450-453.
  22. Reasons-Responsiveness and Degrees of Responsibility.D. Justin Coates & Philip Swenson - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):629-645.
    Ordinarily, we take moral responsibility to come in degrees. Despite this commonplace, theories of moral responsibility have focused on the minimum threshold conditions under which agents are morally responsible. But this cannot account for our practices of holding agents to be more or less responsible. In this paper we remedy this omission. More specifically, we extend an account of reasons-responsiveness due to John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza according to which an agent is morally responsible only if she is appropriately (...)
  23. Mind From Matter? An Essay on Evolutionary Epistemology. Max Delbruck, Gunther S. Stent, Ernst Peter Fischer, Solomon W. Golomb, David Presti, Hansjakob Seiler. [REVIEW]I. Bernard Cohen - 1986 - Isis 77 (4):681-683.
  24. Fischer’s Deterministic Frankfurt-Style Argument.Yishai Cohen - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (1):121-140.
    According to the Dilemma Defense, it is question-begging against the incompatibilist defender of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) to assume that the agent in a deterministic Frankfurt-style case (FSC) cannot do otherwise in light of causal determinism, but is nevertheless morally responsible. As a result, Fischer (Philos Rev 119:315–336, 2010; Analysis 73:489–496, 2013) attempts to undermine PAP in a different manner via a deterministic FSC. More specifically, Fischer attempts to show that if causal determinism rules out an agent’s moral (...)
  25. Logica E Metafisica in Kuno Fischer.Enrico A. Colombo - 2004 - Unicopli.
  26. Fischer, John Martin, and Mark Ravizza. Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.Keith Culver - 1999 - Review of Metaphysics 53 (2):444-446.
  27. Fischer and Ravizza on Moral Sanity and Weakness of Will.John J. Davenport - 2002 - The Journal of Ethics 6 (3):235–259.
    This essay evaluates John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza's mature semi-compatibilist account of moral responsibility, focusingon their new theory of moderate reasons-responsiveness as a model of "moral sanity." This theory, presented in _Responsibility and Control_, solves many of the problems with Fischer's earlier weak reasons-responsiveness model, such as its unwanted implication that agents who are only erratically responsive to bizarre reasons can be responsible for their acts. But I argue that the new model still faces several problems. It does not (...)
  28. Fischer, JM and Ravizza, M.-Responsibility and Control.S. A. Davison - 1999 - Philosophical Books 40:265-266.
  29. Being is Not Believing: Fischer and Ravizza on Taking Responsibility.A. S. Eshleman - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):479 – 490.
  30. J.L. Fischer a Filozofie Xx. Stolet'i Sborn'ik Prac'i K 100. V'yroéc'i Narozen'i.Jan éstéepâan - 1996
  31. John Passmore, "Man's Responsibility for Nature". [REVIEW]Robert Faricy - 1975 - The Thomist 39 (2):431.
  32. Ferrari, GRF 92 Ferry, L. And Renaut, A. 33, 219 Ffrench, P. 226 Fischer, F. Et Al. 18–19.H. R. Fischer, G. D. Atkins, M. L. Johnson, J. L. Austin, P. Baker, T. Ballauff, E. Behler, D. Benner, R. J. Bernstein & L. E. Beyer - 2001 - In Gert Biesta & Denise Egéa-Kuehne (eds.), Derrida & Education. Routledge.
  33. Deep Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer - 2012 - Oxford University Press USA.
    In this collection of essays -- a follow up to My Way and Our Stories -- John Martin Fischer defends the contention that moral responsibility is associated with "deep control". Fischer defines deep control as the middle ground between two untenable extreme positions: "superficial control" and "total control". -/- Our freedom consists of the power to add to the given past, holding fixed the laws of nature, and therefore, Fischer contends, we must be able to interpret our actions as extensions (...)
  34. Deep Control: Essays on Free Will and Value.John Martin Fischer - 2012 - Oup Usa.
    Fischer here defends the contention that moral responsibility is associated with "deep control", which is "in-between" two untenable extreme positions: "superficial control" and "total control". He defends this "middle way" against the proponents of more--and less--robust notions of the freedom required for moral responsibility. Fischer offers a new solution to the Luck Problem, as well as providing a defense of the compatibility of causal determinism and moral responsibility.
  35. Semicompatibilism and Its Rivals.John Martin Fischer - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (2):117-143.
    In this paper I give an overview of my “framework for moral responsibility,” and I offer some reasons that commend it. I contrast my approach with indeterministic models of moral responsibility and also other compatibilist strategies, including those of Harry Frankfurt and Gary Watson.
  36. Precis, Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will. [REVIEW]John Martin Fischer - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (3):503-506.
  37. Replies. [REVIEW]John Martin Fischer - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):267-278.
    I am very grateful to the thoughtful and probing critical discussions by the nine authors who have discussed themes from my two collections, My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility, and Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will. In this essay I seek to respond to some of the points raised in these essays. I am unable to address all of the critiques, but I have certainly learned a great deal from these extremely insightful and generous papers, and I (...)
  38. Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will.John Martin Fischer - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Introduction: "meaning in life and death : our stories" -- John Martin Fischer and Anthony B rueckner, "Why is death bad?", Philosophical studies, vol. 50, no. 2 (September 1986) -- "Death, badness, and the impossibility of experience," Journal of ethics -- John Martin Fischer and Daniel Speak, "Death and the psychological conception of personal identity," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 24 -- "Earlier birth and later death : symmetry through thick and thin," Richard Feldman, Kris McDaniel, Jason R. Raibley, eds., (...)
  39. My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):123-130.
  40. My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    This is a selection of essays on moral responsibility that represent the major components of John Martin Fischer's overall approach to freedom of the will and moral responsibility. The collection exhibits the overall structure of Fischer's view and shows how the various elements fit together to form a comprehensive framework for analyzing free will and moral responsibility. The topics include deliberation and practical reasoning, freedom of the will, freedom of action, various notions of control, and moral accountability. The essays seek (...)
  41. Reply: The Free Will Revolution.John Martin Fischer - 2005 - Philosophical Explorations 8 (2):145 – 156.
  42. The Free Will Revolution (Continued).John Martin Fischer - 2005 - The Journal of Ethics 10 (3):315-345.
    I seek to reply to the thoughtful and penetrating comments by William Rowe, Alfred Mele, Carl Ginet, and Ishtiyaque Haji. In the process, I hope that my overall approach to free will and moral responsibility is thrown into clearer relief. I make some suggestions as to future directions of research in these areas.
  43. Free Will and Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer - 2004 - In D. Copps (ed.), Handbook on Ethical Theory. Oxford University Press.
    Much has been written recently about free will and moral responsibility. In this paper I will focus on the relationship between free will, on the one hand, and various notions that fall under the rubric of “morality,” broadly construed, on the other: deliberation and practical reasoning, moral responsibility, and ethical notions such as “ought,” “right,” “wrong,” “good,” and “bad.” I shall begin by laying out a natural understanding of freedom of the will. Next I develop some challenges to the common-sense (...)
  44. Responsibility and Manipulation.John Martin Fischer - 2004 - The Journal of Ethics 8 (2):145-177.
    I address various critiques of the approach to moral responsibility sketched in previous work by Ravizza and Fischer. I especially focus on the key issues pertaining to manipulation.
  45. Frankfurt-Type Examples and Semi-Compatibilism.John Martin Fischer - 2002 - In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press.
  46. Chicken Soup for the Semi-Compatibilist Soul: Replies to Haji and Kane.John Martin Fischer - 2000 - The Journal of Ethics 4 (4):404-407.
  47. Responsibility and Self-Expression.John Martin Fischer - 1999 - The Journal of Ethics 3 (4):277-297.
    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 (...)
  48. The Metaphysics of Free Will: A Reply to My Critics.John Martin Fischer - 1998 - Journal of Social Philosophy 29 (2):157-167.
  49. Responsibility, Control, and Omissions.John Martin Fischer - 1997 - The Journal of Ethics 1 (1):45-64.
    Previously, I have argued that moral responsibility for actions is associated with guidance control. This sort of control does not necessarily involve the freedom to do otherwise. In this paper I extend the view to apply to omissions. That is, moral responsibility for an omission is associated with guidance control of that omission. This helps to provide a systematic, unified account of moral responsibility.
  50. The Metasphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control.John Martin Fischer - 1994 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    The Metaphysics of Free Will provides a through statement of the major grounds for skepticism about the reality of free will and moral responsibility. The author identifies and explains the sort of control that is associated with personhood and accountability, and shows how it is consistent with causal determinism. In so doing, out view of ourselves as morally responsible agents is protected against the disturbing changes posed by science and religion.
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