Alternative Possibilities, Volitional Necessities, and Character Setting

Disputatio 9 (45):287-307 (2017)
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Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that the power to do otherwise is necessary for being morally responsible. While much of the literature on alternative possibilities has focused on Frankfurt’s argument against this claim, I instead focus on one of Dennett’s (1984) arguments against it. This argument appeals to cases of volitional necessity rather than cases featuring counterfactual interveners. van Inwagen (1989) and Kane (1996) appeal to the notion of ‘character setting’ to argue that these cases do not show that the power to do otherwise is unnecessary for moral responsibility. In this paper, I argue that their character setting response is unsuccessful.

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Benjamin Matheson
University of Bern

References found in this work

Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life.Derk Pereboom - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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