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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 1998. 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. added 2020-06-16
    Vargas, Manuel. Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. 345. $55.00. [REVIEW]Kevin Timpe - 2014 - Ethics 124 (4):926-931.
  2. added 2020-02-18
    Semicompatibilism and Moral Responsibility for Actions and Omissions: In Defense of Symmetrical Requirements.Taylor W. Cyr - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
    Although convinced by Frankfurt-style cases that moral responsibility does not require the ability to do otherwise, semicompatibilists have not wanted to accept a parallel claim about moral responsibility for omissions, and so they have accepted asymmetrical requirements on moral responsibility for actions and omissions. In previous work, I have presented a challenge to various attempts at defending this asymmetry. My view is that semicompatibilists should give up these defenses and instead adopt symmetrical requirements on moral responsibility for actions and omissions, (...)
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  3. added 2020-02-11
    Confronting Values in Policy Analysis: The Politics of Criteria.Steven Hetcher - 1989 - Ethics 99 (3):659-660.
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  4. added 2020-02-11
    Politics, Values, and Public Policy: The Problem of Methodology.Charles W. Anderson - 1983 - Ethics 93 (3):625-626.
  5. added 2020-01-25
    Causation and Free Will, Written by Carolina Sartorio. [REVIEW]Taylor W. Cyr - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (4):475-478.
  6. added 2020-01-25
    Semicompatibilism: No Ability to Do Otherwise Required.Taylor W. Cyr - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (3):308-321.
    In this paper, I argue that it is open to semicompatibilists to maintain that no ability to do otherwise is required for moral responsibility. This is significant for two reasons. First, it undermines Christopher Evan Franklin’s recent claim that everyone thinks that an ability to do otherwise is necessary for free will and moral responsibility. Second, it reveals an important difference between John Martin Fischer’s semicompatibilism and Kadri Vihvelin’s version of classical compatibilism, which shows that the dispute between them is (...)
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  7. added 2020-01-25
    Moral Responsibility for Actions and Omissions: A New Challenge to the Asymmetry Thesis.Taylor Cyr - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3153-3161.
    This paper presents a new challenge to the thesis that moral responsibility for an omission requires the ability to do the omitted action, whereas moral responsibility for an action does not require the ability to do otherwise than that action. Call this the asymmetry thesis. The challenge arises from the possibility of cases in which an omission is identical to an action. In certain of such cases, the asymmetry thesis leads to a contradiction. The challenge is then extended to recent (...)
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  8. added 2020-01-25
    Is Semicompatibilism Unstable?Taylor W. Cyr - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (45):245-264.
    Recently, John Maier has developed a unified account of various agentive modalities. According to him, however, adopting the account provides an alternative framework for thinking about free will and moral responsibility, one that reveals an unacceptable instability in semicompatibilism. In this paper, I argue that Maier is mistaken about the implications of his account and sketch a semicompatibilist proposal that can, without countenancing any instability, accept Maier’s unified account of the agentive modalities.
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  9. added 2019-09-11
    Contextualizing Free Will.Romy Jaster - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 74 (2):187-204.
    Hawthorne toys with the view that ascriptions of free will are context-sensitive. But the way he formulates the view makes freedom contextualism look like a non-starter. I step into the breach for freedom contextualism. My aim is twofold. On the one hand, I argue that freedom contextualism can be motivated on the basis of our ordinary practice of freedom attribution is not ad hoc. The view explains data which cannot be accounted for by an ambiguity hypothesis. On the other hand, (...)
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  10. added 2019-07-29
    Flickers of Freedom and Moral Luck.Carolina Sartorio - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):93-105.
    Midwest Studies In Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  11. added 2019-07-29
    Fischer and Ravizza on Moral Responsibility and History.Michael E. Bratman - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):453-458.
    There is much of significance in John Fischer and Mark Ravizza’s thoughtful book. I will, however, focus primarily on their interesting and suggestive claim that “moral responsibility is an essentially historical notion: someone’s being morally responsible requires that the past be a certain way.” But first some preliminaries.
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  12. added 2019-07-29
    Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. [REVIEW]John J. Davenport - 2000 - Faith and Philosophy 17 (3):384-395.
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  13. added 2019-07-29
    Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. [REVIEW]Keith Culver - 1999 - Review of Metaphysics 53 (2):444-445.
    In this recent addition to the Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Law series, John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza offer the culmination of their efforts of the last several years to devise a comprehensive account of moral responsibility, based in large part on their notion of “guidance control”. This comprehensive account is presented not as the last word on the matter, but rather as a “philosophical explanation”. This valuable contribution to current debate offers rich resources for those concerned to dispel (...)
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  14. added 2019-06-06
    Based on a True Story: Narrative and the Value of Acting Freely.Meghan Griffith - 2011 - Social Theory and Practice 37 (1):19-34.
    In several essays, John Fischer motivates his guidance control view of moral responsibility by discussing the value of acting freely. What we value, he argues, is unhindered self-expression that derives its meaning from a narrative structure. In this paper, I claim that while Fischer may be correct that self-expression is the value of acting freely, it is less clear that the kind of self-expression that we value sits comfortably with determinism. The meaning of one’s narrative may include the accuracy of (...)
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  15. added 2019-06-06
    Softening Fischer’s Hard Compatibilism.C. P. Ragland - 2011 - Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):51-71.
    According to “hard” compatibilists, we can be responsible for our actions not only when they are determined by mindless natural causes, but also when some agent other than ourselves intentionally determines us to act as we do. “Soft” compatibilists consider freedom compatible with merely natural determinism, but not with intentional determinism. Because he believes there is no relevant difference between a naturally determined agent and a relevantly similar intentionally determined agent, John Martin Fischer is a hard compatibilist. However, he argues (...)
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  16. added 2019-06-06
    Fischer's Reasons: Comments on John Martin Fischer's My Way.Calvin G. Normore - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):259-266.
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  17. added 2019-06-06
    Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will, by John Martin Fischer.: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]James Stacey Taylor - 2010 - Mind 119 (476):1165-1168.
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  18. added 2019-06-06
    The Concept of Disavowal in Sibylle Fischer's Political Imaginary: A Review Essay. [REVIEW]Neil Roberts - 2006 - Clr James Journal 12 (1):141-155.
  19. added 2019-06-06
    Plausibility, Manipulation, and Fischer and Ravizza.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2006 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):173-192.
    The manipulation argument poses a significant challenge for any adequate compatibilist theory of agency. The argument maintains that there is no relevant difference between actions or pro-attitudes that are induced by nefarious neurosurgeons, God, or natural causes. Therefore, if manipulation is thought to undermine moral responsibility, then so also ought causal determinism. In this paper, I will attempt to bolster the plausibility of John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza’s semicompatibilist theory of moral responsibility by demonstrating how their account provides a (...)
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  20. added 2019-06-06
    Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.Paul Russell - 2002 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (4):587-606.
    In ‘Alternative Possibilities and Moral Responsibility’ Frankfurt develops several counter-examples to the principle that a person is responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. He describes various cases that aim to show that, given the actual sequence of events, the agent’s exercise of control over his action is not impaired by the lack of alternative possibilities. Dennett endorses Frankfurt’s position, but goes on to argue that he is ‘insufficiently ambitious’ on this issue. According to (...)
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  21. added 2019-06-06
    Eugen Fischer, Linguistic Creativity: Exercises in 'Philosophical Therapy'. [REVIEW]Zoltán Szabó - 2002 - Philosophy in Review 22 (5):320-323.
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  22. added 2019-06-06
    Fischer and Avoidability: A Reply to Widerker and Katzoff.Daniel James Speak - 1999 - Faith and Philosophy 16 (2):239-247.
    In a recent exchange, John M. Fischer and David Widerker have debated whether or not it is appropriate to employ Frankfurt-style examples in efforts to challenge the intuitively plausible “principle of alternative possibilities.” Most recently, David Widerker and Charlotte Katzoff have tried to defend Widerker’s initial claim that such examples beg the question against libertarianism. As a libertarian sympathizer, I would like very much for these arguments to go through. However, I argue here that their “molinist” critique is off-target, their (...)
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  23. added 2019-06-06
    The Metaphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control. [REVIEW]R. Jay Wallace - 1997 - Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):156-159.
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  24. added 2019-06-06
    The Metaphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control. [REVIEW]Ted A. Warfield - 1997 - Faith and Philosophy 14 (2):261-265.
  25. added 2019-06-05
    Fischer, John Martin. Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009 . Pp. 184. $65.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW]Manuel Vargas - 2010 - Ethics 120 (3):600-604.
  26. added 2019-06-05
    Responses to Bernard Berofsky, John Martin Fischer and Galen StrawsonThe Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):157.
  27. added 2019-05-31
    The Free Will Revolution.John Martin Fischer - 2006 - 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.
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  28. added 2019-05-06
    Moderate Reasons-Responsiveness, Moral Responsibility, and Manipulation.Todd R. Long - 2004 - In M. O.’Rourke J. K. Campbell (ed.), Freedom and Determinism. MIT Press.
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  29. added 2019-04-08
    Blame, Desert and Compatibilist Capacity: A Diachronic Account of Moderateness in Regards to Reasons-Responsiveness.Nicole A. Vincent - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (2):1-17.
    This paper argues that John Fischer and Mark Ravizza's compatibilist theory of moral responsibility cannot justify reactive attitudes like blame and desert-based practices like retributive punishment. The problem with their account, I argue, is that their analysis of moderateness in regards to reasons-responsiveness has the wrong normative features. However, I propose an alternative account of what it means for a mechanism to be moderately reasons-responsive which addresses this deficiency. In a nut shell, while Fischer and Ravizza test for moderate reasons-responsiveness (...)
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  30. added 2019-04-08
    Default Compatibilism and Narrativity: Comments on John Martin Fischer’s Ways and Stories.Michael Nelson - 2011 - Social Theory and Practice 37 (1):35-45.
    I discuss two claims defended in Fischer’s recent work. The first is the default status of compatibilism. This is part of a conception of our agency and moral responsibility as being independent of the truth or the falsity of the thesis of determinism. I try to further bolster Fischer’s arguments in favor of this position. The second is Fischer’s defense of the narrative conception of moral responsibility, according to which the value of self-expression supports and explicates the value of being (...)
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  31. added 2019-04-08
    Augustine on Liberty of the Higher-Order Will.John J. Davenport - 2007 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 81:67-89.
    I have argued that like Harry Frankfurt, Augustine implicitly distinguishes between first-order desires and higher-order volitions; yet unlike Frankfurt, Augustineheld that the liberty to form different possible volitional identifications is essential to responsibility for our character. Like Frankfurt, Augustine recognizes that we can sometimes be responsible for the desires on which we act without being able to do or desire otherwise; but for Augustine, this is true only because such responsibility for inevitable desires and actions traces (at least in part) (...)
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  32. added 2019-04-08
    Reasons-Responsiveness and Ownership-of-Agency: Fischer and Ravizza's Historicist Theory of Responsibility. [REVIEW]David Zimmerman - 2002 - The Journal of Ethics 6 (3):199-234.
    No one has done more than John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza to advance our understanding of the important dispute in the theory of responsibility between structuralists and historicists. This makes it all the more important to take the measure of Responsibility and Control, their most recent contribution to the historicist side of the discussion. In this paper I examine some novel features of their most recent version of responsiblity-historicism, especially their new notions of "moderate reasons-responsiveness" and "ownership-of-agency." Fischer and (...)
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  33. added 2019-04-08
    Harry Frankfurt on the Will, Autonomy and Necessity.Stefaan E. Cuypers - 1998 - Ethical Perspectives 5 (1):44-52.
    In this paper, I want to give an interpretation of Harry Frankfurt’s complex theory of the will with respect to the issue of “autonomy and necessity”. My central claim is that Frankfurt’s employment of the concept of the will is equivocal. He actually uses three distinct conceptions of the will without ever distinguishing them from one another. I shall introduce and justify such a clarifying tripartite distinction. Although my discussion will be limited to Frankfurt’s view of the will, this distinction (...)
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  34. added 2019-02-11
    Moral Responsibility Without Libertarianism.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2006 - Noûs 40 (2):307-330.
  35. added 2019-02-11
    Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.Gideon Yaffe - 2000 - Erkenntnis 53 (3):429-434.
  36. added 2019-02-11
    Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (197):543-545.
  37. added 2019-02-11
    Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer - 1998 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):459-466.
  38. added 2018-11-13
    My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):123-130.
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  39. added 2018-11-13
    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.
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  40. added 2018-08-28
    FISCHER, LOUIS. Men and Politics.D. S. von Mohrenschildt - 1941 - Journal of Social Philosophy and Jurisprudence 7:89.
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  41. added 2018-08-20
    Précis of Causation and Free Will.Carolina Sartorio - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1513-1516.
    This is a precis of my book Causation and Free Will. I go over the main features of my compatibilist account of free will, which is based on the actual causes of our behavior.
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  42. added 2018-08-20
    On Carolina Sartorio’s Causation and Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1535-1543.
    In this article I review the core elements of Carolina Sartorio’s actual causal sequence account of free will and moral responsibility, and propose two revisions. First, I suggest replacing the contested notion of absence causation by the relatively uncontroversial notion of causal explanation by absences. Second, I propose retaining explanation by unreduced dispositions, of which Sartorio appears to be wary. I then set out a response to her critical treatment of manipulation arguments against compatibilism. Lastly, I point out that Sartorio’s (...)
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  43. added 2018-08-20
    Free Will and Open Alternatives.Carlos J. Moya - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (45):167-191.
    In her recent book Causation and Free Will, Carolina Sartorio develops a distinctive version of an actual-sequence account of free will, according to which, when agents choose and act freely, their freedom is exclusively grounded in, and supervenes on, the actual causal history of such choices or actions. Against this proposal, I argue for an alternative- possibilities account, according to which agents’ freedom is partly grounded in their ability to choose or act otherwise. Actual-sequence accounts of freedom are motivated by (...)
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  44. added 2018-05-16
    God, Foreknowledge, and Freedom John Martin Fischer, Editor Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1989, Ix + 351 Pp. [REVIEW]Terence Penelhum - 1994 - Dialogue 33 (1):148-.
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  45. added 2018-02-18
    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 (...)
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  46. added 2017-10-05
    Building a Better Theory of Responsibility.Kevin Timpe - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2635-2649.
    In Building Better Beings, Vargas develops and defends a naturalistic account of responsibility, whereby responsible agents must possess a feasibly situated capacity to detect and respond to moral considerations. As a preliminary step, he also offers a substantive account of how we might justify our practices of holding responsible—viz., by appeal to their efficacy in fostering a ‘valuable form of agency’ across the community at large, a form of agency that precisely encompasses sensitivity to moral considerations. But how do these (...)
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  47. added 2017-10-05
    Responsibility, Blameworthy Actions and Normative Disagreements. A Defence of Practical Semi-Compatibilism.Maureen Sie - 2002 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):202-203.
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  48. added 2017-04-13
    Regulative Control and the Subjectivist’s View of Moral Responsibility.P. Eddy Wilson - 2006 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 13 (1):28-33.
    In this essay I focus upon John Martin Fischer’s notion of taking on responsibility. In his view moral actors must acquire a proper self-understanding to take on moral responsibility. I question whether Fischer steps out of his role as a subjectivist, when he maintains that having only guidance control is a necessary condition for moral responsibility. I suggest that subjectivists are committed to the notion that taking on responsibility includes the acquisition of a proper phenomenology of freedom. I compare actors (...)
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  49. added 2017-02-15
    Responses to John Martin Fischer and Dana Nelkin. [REVIEW]Derk Pereboom - 2014 - Science, Religion and Culture 1 (3):218.
    I first want to thank John Fischer for his generous appraisal of the book, and for his astute and challenging comments on my treatment of the manipulation argument in Chapter 4. Fischer’s core strategy for resisting this argument is a soft-line reply. Soft-liners claim that in some manipulation cases the agent is not morally responsible, and in others he is. A corollary of the soft-line reply is that there is a plausible compatibilist condition on moral responsibility that has not been (...)
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  50. added 2017-02-15
    El Campo de Concentración de Martín García. Entre El Control Estatal Dentro de la Isla y Las Prácticas de Distribución de Indígenas (1871-1886)The Concentration Camp of Martin Garcia. Between State Control in the Island and Distribution Practices of Indigenous Peoples. [REVIEW]Mariano Nagy & Alexis Papazian - 2011 - Corpus 1 (2).
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1 — 50 / 199