Incompatibilism and the logic of transfer

Acta Analytica 19 (33):45-54 (2004)


Modal arguments for incompatibility of freedom and determinism are typically based on the “transfer principle” for inability to act otherwise (Beta). The principle of agglomerativity (closure under conjunction introduction) is derivable from Beta. The most convincing counterexample to Beta is based on the denial of Agglomeration. The defender of the modal argument has two ways to block counterexamples to Beta: (i) use a notion of inability to act otherwise which is immune to the counterexample to agglomerativity; (ii) replace Beta with a logically stronger principle Beta 2. I argue that the second strategy fails because the strengthened principle and Agglomeration together entail Beta. So this strategy makes sense only if Beta 2 is applied without Agglomeration. But if Beta 2 is used without Agglomeration, then the incompatibilist will undercut the rationale for the premise of his argument. I illustrate this point with the analysis of Warfield (1996) and his use of Beta 2 in the so called direct argument for incompatibilism.

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Danilo Suster
University of Maribor

References found in this work

An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Modal Logic: An Introduction.Brian F. Chellas - 1980 - Cambridge University Press.
An Essay on Free Will.Michael Slote - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (6):327-330.

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