Defending the principle of alternate possibilities: Blameworthiness and moral responsibility

Noûs 31 (4):441-456 (1997)
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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



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David Copp
University of California, Davis

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Dilemmic Epistemology.Nick Hughes - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4059-4090.
I Ought, Therefore I Can.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (2):167-216.
The objects of moral responsibility.Andrew C. Khoury - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1357-1381.

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