The Zygote Argument is invalid: Now what?

Philosophical Studies 172 (11):2911-2929 (2015)
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Alfred Mele’s original Zygote Argument is invalid. At most, its premises entail the negative thesis that free action is incompossible with deterministic laws, but its conclusion asserts the positive thesis that deterministic laws preclude free action. The original, explanatory conclusion of the Zygote Argument can be defended only by supplementing the Zygote Argument with a best-explanation argument that identifies deterministic laws as menacing. Arguably, though, the best explanation for the manipulation victim’s lack of freedom and responsibility is his constitutive luck, which is a problem irrespective of the natural laws that obtain. This proposed explanation leads to a new “diagnostic” version of the Zygote Argument which concludes that free action is impossible even though deterministic laws pose no threat whatsoever to free will.

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Author's Profile

Kristin M. Mickelson
University of Colorado, Boulder (PhD)

References found in this work

Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Galen J. Strawson - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 75 (1-2):5-24.
Freedom and Belief.Galen Strawson - 1986 - Oxford University Press.

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