Moral Responsibility And Its Alternatives

Michael Robinson
Chapman University
It has long been held that a person is morally responsible for what she has done only if she could have done otherwise. This is commonly known as the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP). In this dissertation I defend PAP against two main lines of attack. The first comes from a class of putative counterexamples to PAP devised by Harry Frankfurt, commonly known as Frankfurt-style cases. The second line of attack I consider comes from various attempts in recent years to reconceive the nature of moral responsibility in a way that straightforwardly entails that alternative possibilities are not required for moral responsibility. I argue that these challenges are unsuccessful in undermining the view that moral responsibility requires the ability to do otherwise and, in doing so, attempt to clarify the moral significance of possessing alternatives of this sort
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