A new approach to manipulation arguments

Philosophical Studies 152 (1):127-133 (2011)
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Abstract

There are several argumentative strategies for advancing the thesis that moral responsibility is incompatible with causal determinism. One prominent such strategy is to argue that agents who meet compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility can nevertheless be subject to responsibility-undermining manipulation. In this paper, I argue that incompatibilists advancing manipulation arguments against compatibilism have been shouldering an unnecessarily heavy dialectical burden. Traditional manipulation arguments present cases in which manipulated agents meet all compatibilist conditions for moral responsibility, but are (allegedly) not responsible for their behavior. I argue, however, that incompatibilists can make do with the more modest (and harder to resist) claim that the manipulation in question is mitigating with respect to moral responsibility. The focus solely on whether a manipulated agent is or is not morally responsible has, I believe, masked the full force of manipulation-style arguments against compatibilism. Here, I aim to unveil their real power.

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Patrick Todd
University of Edinburgh

Citations of this work

Free will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Skepticism About Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018):1-81.
Manipulation Arguments and the Freedom to do Otherwise.Patrick Todd - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):395-407.
Defending (a modified version of) the Zygote Argument.Patrick Todd - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):189-203.

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References found in this work

Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.
Four Views on Free Will.John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, Derk Pereboom & Manuel Vargas - 2007 - Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by John Martin Fischer.
Free will and luck: Reply to critics.Alfred R. Mele - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):153 – 155.

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