The importance of being Ernie

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (4):257-263 (2021)
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Abstract

Alfred Mele presents an influential argument for incompatibilism which compares an agent, Ernie, whose life has been carefully planned by the goddess Diana, to normal deterministic agents. The argument suggests both that Ernie is not free, and that there is no relevant difference between him and normal deterministic agents in respect of free will. In this paper, I suggest that what drives our judgement that Ernie is not free in the Diana case is that his actions are merely an extension of Diana's—he is akin to a tool, which she uses solely for her own purposes, and his behaviour occurs only because of the interest Diana takes in its occurring. This contrasts with normal deterministic universes, in which normal agents are not such tools.

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Citations of this work

Arguments for incompatibilism.Kadri Vihvelin - 2003/2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Manipulation, machine induction, and bypassing.Gabriel De Marco - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 180 (2):487-507.

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A Hard-line Reply to Pereboom’s Four-Case Manipulation Argument.Michael Mckenna - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1):142-159.
Manipulation Arguments and the Freedom to do Otherwise.Patrick Todd - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):395-407.
The Zygote Argument is invalid: Now what?Kristin Mickelson - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):2911-2929.

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