A Strengthening of the Consequence Argument for Incompatibilism

Analysis 77 (4):705-715 (2017)

Johan E. Gustafsson
University of York
The aim of the Consequence Argument is to show that, if determinism is true, no one has, or ever had, any choice about anything. In the stock version of the argument, its two premisses state that no one is, or ever was, able to act so that the past would have been different and no one is, or ever was, able to act so that the laws of nature would have been different. This stock version fails, however, because it requires an invalid inference rule. The standard response is to strengthen both premisses by replacing ‘would’ with ‘might’. While this response ensures validity, it weakens the argument, since it strengthens the premisses. I show that we can do better: We can keep the weak reading of one premiss and just strengthen the other. This provides two versions of the Consequence Argument which are stronger than the standard revision.
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DOI 10.1093/analys/anx103
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A Metaphysics for Freedom.Helen Steward - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Counterfactuals. [REVIEW]William Parry - 1973 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 44 (2):278-281.

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