Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1935-1951 (2019)

Sofia M.I. Jeppsson
Umeå University
One of the most influential arguments against compatibilism is Derk Pereboom’s four-case manipulation argument. Professor Plum, the main character of the thought experiment, is manipulated into doing what he does; he therefore supposedly lacks moral responsibility for his action. Since he is arguably analogous to an ordinary agent under determinism, Pereboom concludes that ordinary determined agents lack moral responsibility as well. I offer a hard-line reply to this argument, that is, a reply which denies that this kind of manipulation is responsibility undermining. I point out that fully fleshed-out manipulated characters in fiction can seem morally responsible for what they do. This is plausibly because we identify with such characters, and therefore focus on their options and the reasons for which they act rather than the manipulation. I further argue that we ought to focus this way when interacting with other agents. We have no reason to trust the incompatibilist intuitions that arise when we regard manipulated agents from a much more detached perspective.
Keywords compatibilism  incompatibilism  manipulation argument  Derk Pereboom  Hard-line reply  Practical perspective  Practical reason  moral responsibility  free will
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Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.1007/s11098-019-01292-2
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
1. Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - In John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (eds.), Perspectives on Moral Responsibility. Cornell University Press. pp. 1-25.
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