Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2091-2107 (2015)

Seemingly one of the most prominent issues that divide theorists about free will and moral responsibility concerns whether the ability to do otherwise is necessary for freedom and responsibility. I defend two claims in this paper. First, that this appearance is illusory: everyone thinks an ability to do otherwise is necessary for freedom and responsibility. The central issue is not whether the ability to do otherwise is necessary for freedom and responsibility but which abilities to do otherwise are necessary. Second, I argue that we cannot determine which abilities are necessary until we have determined the nature and justification of moral responsibility. Thus, theorizing about moral responsibility ought to take pride of place in theorizing about free will
Keywords Free will  Moral responsibility  Ability  Compatibilism  Incompatibilism  Principle of alternative possibilities  John Fischer  Consequence Argument  Frankfurt-style cases  Ability to do otherwise
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-014-0399-4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,842
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - Oxford University Press.

View all 57 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Free Will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Self-Expression: A Deep Self Theory of Moral Responsibility.Chandra Sripada - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1203-1232.
Moral Responsibility Without General Ability.Taylor W. Cyr & Philip Swenson - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):22-40.
Free Will and the Construction of Options.Chandra Sripada - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):2913-2933.
Semicompatibilism: No Ability to Do Otherwise Required.Taylor W. Cyr - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (3):308-321.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

New Essays on the Metaphysics of Moral Responsibility.Joseph Keim Campbell - 2008 - The Journal of Ethics 12 (3-4):193 - 201.
Betting Against Compatibilism.Göran Duus-Otterström - 2010 - Res Publica 16 (4):383-396.
An Analysis of Semi-Compatibilism.Gan Hun Ahn - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 15:7-12.
Agnosticism About Moral Responsibility.Jeremy Byrd - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):411-432.
Free Will and Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer - 2004 - In David Copp (ed.), Handbook on Ethical Theory. Oxford University Press.
Abilities. [REVIEW]Randolph Clarke - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2):451-458.


Added to PP index

Total views
236 ( #40,027 of 2,438,928 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #136,288 of 2,438,928 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes