Irrelevant alternatives and Frankfurt counterfactuals

Philosophical Studies 121 (1):1-25 (2004)
In rejecting the Principle of AlternatePossibilities (PAP), Harry Frankfurt makes useof a special sort of counterfactual of thefollowing form: ``he wouldn''t have doneotherwise even if he could have''''. Recently,other philosophers (e.g., Susan Hurley (1999,2003) and Michael Zimmerman (2002)) haveappealed to a special class of counterfactualsof this same general form in defending thecompatibility of determinism andresponsibility. In particular, they claim thatit can be true of agents that even if they aredetermined, and so cannot do otherwise, theywouldn''t have done otherwise even if they couldhave. Using as a central case an argument ofSusan Hurley''s, I point out that thecounterfactuals in question are both``interlegal'''' and ``indeterministic'''', and I raisedoubts about whether this special class ofcounterfactuals have clear truth conditions. Finally I suggest that acknowledging thesepoints leads to an appreciation of the realstrength of Frankfurt-style examples.
Keywords Agent  Alternative  Counterfactual  Indeterminism  Metaphysics  Possibility  Truth Condition  Frankfurt, H  Hurley, S
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/B:PHIL.0000040372.79054.a2
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 31,856
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Impertinence of Frankfurt-Style Argument.Daniel James Speak - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):76-95.
A Defense of Frankfurt-Friendly Libertarianism.David Widerker - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (2):87 – 108.
The Importance of Frankfurt-Style Argument.John Martin Fischer - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):464–471.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
65 ( #91,708 of 2,231,870 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #120,614 of 2,231,870 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature