Why Compatibilists Need Alternative Possibilities

Erkenntnis 81 (3):529-544 (2016)
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Abstract

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 determinism is compatible with the ability to do otherwise. The primary goal of this paper is to fight for the first camp and against the second camp. The secondary goal is to draw greater attention to a relatively overlooked aspect of the debate about alternative possibilities: that giving up on alternative possibilities might mean giving up on much of morality.

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Reid Blackman
University of Texas at Austin (PhD)

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