Frankfurt's argument against alternative possibilities: Looking beyond the examples

Noûs 42 (4):770-793 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Harry Frankfurt dramatically shaped the debates over freedom and responsibility by arguing that the sort of freedom germane to responsibility does not involve the freedom to do otherwise. His argument turns upon an example meant to disprove the Principle of Alternative Possibilities:   A person is morally responsible for what she has done only if she could have done otherwise. Debate over Frankfurt's argument has turned almost exclusively on the success of the example meant to defeat it. But there is more to Frankfurt's argument than the example in question, and this is not widely recognized. Inattention to these other aspects of Frankfurt's argument has distorted the force of it. In this paper I shall explore avenues for both refuting and advancing Frankfurt's argument that look beyond the examples. These further considerations invite us to think in broader terms about moral responsibility's nature and the sort of freedom required for it.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,100

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

On the inevitability of freedom (from the compatibilist point of view).Galen Strawson - 1986 - American Philosophical Quarterly 23 (4):393-400.
Responsibility and the Kinds of Freedom.John Martin Fischer - 2008 - The Journal of Ethics 12 (3-4):203 - 228.
Causal History Matters, but Not for Individuation.Kevin Timpe - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (1):77-91.
The impertinence of Frankfurt-style argument.Daniel James Speak - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):76-95.
Further thoughts about a Frankfurt-style argument.Derk Pereboom - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (2):109 – 118.
Choice, moral responsibility and alternative possibilities.Vivienne Brown - 2006 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (3):265-288.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
331 (#61,605)

6 months
9 (#312,765)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Michael McKenna
University of Arizona

Citations of this work

The Frankfurt-style cases: extinguishing the flickers of freedom.John Martin Fischer - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (9):1185-1209.
Actual Sequences, Frankfurt-Cases, and Non-accidentality.Heering David - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (10):1269-1288.
Alternative possibilities in context.Alex Kaiserman - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (10):1308-1324.
A defense of Frankfurt-friendly libertarianism.David Widerker - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (2):87 – 108.

View all 24 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
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 G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments.R. Jay Wallace - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

View all 48 references / Add more references