Epistemic issues in the free will debate: can we know when we are free?

Philosophical Studies 166 (2):363-380 (2013)
In this paper, I argue that the views of Robert Kane on the one hand and John Fischer and Mark Ravizza on the other both lead to the following conclusion: we should have very low confidence in our ability to judge that someone is acting freely or in a way for which they can be held responsible. This in turn means, I claim, that these views, in practice, collapse into a sort of hard incompatibilist position, or the position of a free will denier. That would at least be an unintended consequence, and it might be regarded as a virtual reductio. Versions of the objection could likely be made against a number of other accounts of free will, but I will limit my focus to Kane and Fischer. Along the way, by way of response to some possible objections to my argument, I make some comments about epistemic closure principles
Keywords Free will  John Martin Fischer  Robert Kane  Epistemic closure  Skepticism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-0044-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,471
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2005 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Argument From Moral Responsibility.John Maier - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2):1-19.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):153 – 155.
Ifs, Cans, and Free Will: The Issues.Bernard Berofsky - 2002 - In Robert H. Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Oxford University Press.
How Can Psychology Contribute to the Free Will Debate?Shaun Nichols - 2009 - In J. Baer, J. Kaufman & R. Baumeister (eds.), Psychology and Free Will. Oxford University Press.
Metaphilosophy and Free Will.Richard Double - 1996 - Oxford University Press.
Libet and the Case for Free Will Scepticism.Tim Bayne - 2011 - In Richard Swinburne (ed.), Free Will and Modern Science. Oup/British Academy.
Free WIll.Kevin Timpe - 2012 - In Neil Manson & Bob Barnard (eds.), The Continuum Companion to Metaphysics. London: Continuum. pp. 223-243.
Free Will and Reasonable Doubt.Benjamin Vilhauer - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (2):131-140.
Marx on Free Trade.Reza Ghorashi - 1995 - Science and Society 59 (1):38 - 51.
Epistemic Comparative Conditionals.Linton Wang - 2008 - Synthese 162 (1):133 - 156.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
67 ( #95,863 of 2,285,708 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #40,542 of 2,285,708 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature