Philosophical Studies 164 (1):189-203 (2013)

Patrick Todd
University of Edinburgh
Think of the last thing someone did to you to seriously harm or offend you. And now imagine, so far as you can, becoming fully aware of the fact that his or her action was the causally inevitable result of a plan set into motion before he or she was ever even born, a plan that had no chance of failing. Should you continue to regard him or her as being morally responsible—blameworthy, in this case—for what he or she did? Many have thought that, intuitively, you should not. Recently, Alfred Mele has employed this line of thought to mount what many have taken to be a powerful argument for incompatibilism: the “Zygote Argument”. However, in interesting new papers, John Martin Fischer and Stephen Kearns have each independently argued that the Zygote Argument fails. As I see it, the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns reveal some important questions about how the argument is meant to be—or how it would best be—understood. Once we make a slight (but important) modification to the argument, however, I think we will be able to see that the criticisms of Fischer and Kearns do not detract from its substantial force
Keywords The Zygote Argument  Manipulation arguments  Free will  Moral responsibility  Compatibilism  Incompatibilism  Alfred Mele
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9848-5
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,066
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
Free Will and Luck: Reply to Critics.Alfred R. Mele - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):153 – 155.
Manipulation, Compatibilism, and Moral Responsibility.Alfred R. Mele - 2008 - The Journal of Ethics 12 (3-4):263-286.
Aborting the Zygote Argument.Stephen Kearns - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (3):379-389.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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, Moral Responsibility, and Bullet Biting.Alfred R. Mele - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (3):167-184.

View all 20 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Aborting the Zygote Argument.Stephen Kearns - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (3):379-389.
The Zygote Argument Remixed.J. M. Fischer - 2011 - Analysis 71 (2):267-272.
So-Far Incompatibilism and the so-Far Consequence Argument.Stephen Hetherington - 2006 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 73 (1):163-178.
How (Not) to Attack the Luck Argument.E. J. Coffman - 2010 - Philosophical Explorations 13 (2):157-166.
A Maneuver Around the Modified Manipulation Argument.Hannah Tierney - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):753-763.
Rowe's Probabilistic Argument From Evil.Richard Otte - 2002 - Faith and Philosophy 19 (2):147-171.
Freedom and Miracles.John Martin Fischer - 1988 - Noûs 22 (2):235-252.
Metaphysical Accounts of the Zygote as a Person and the Veto Power of Facts.Thomas J. Bole - 1989 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (6):647-653.


Added to PP index

Total views
201 ( #56,707 of 2,498,779 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #280,195 of 2,498,779 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes