What time travelers cannot not do (but are responsible for anyway)

Philosophical Studies 166 (1):149-162 (2013)
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The Principle of Alternative Possibilities is the intuitive idea that someone is morally responsible for an action only if she could have done otherwise. Harry Frankfurt has famously presented putative counterexamples to this intuitive principle. In this paper, I formulate a simple version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a course-grained notion of actions. After warming up with a Frankfurt-Style Counterexample to this principle, I introduce a new kind of counterexample based on the possibility of time travel. At the end of the paper, I formulate a more sophisticated version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a certain fine grained notion of actions. I then explain how this new kind of counterexample can be augmented to show that even the more sophisticated principle is false

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Author's Profile

Joshua Spencer
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Citations of this work

Paradoxes of Time Travel.Ryan Wasserman - 2017 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Implicit attitudes and the ability argument.Wesley Buckwalter - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2961-2990.
Time Travelers Are Not Free.Michael C. Rea - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy 112 (5):266-279.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Paradoxes of Time Travel.David K. Lewis - 1976 - American Philosophical Quarterly 13 (2):145-152.
An Essay on Free Will by Peter van Inwagen. [REVIEW]Michael Slote - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (6):327-330.
The Paradoxes of Time Travel.David Lewis - 1976 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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