The Revisionist Turn: A Brief History of Recent Work on Free Will

In Jesus Aguilar, Andrei Buckareff & Keith Frankish (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Action. Palgrave (2010)
I’ve been told that in the good old days of the 1970s, when Quine’s desert landscapes were regarded as ideal real estate and David Lewis and John Rawls had not yet left a legion of influential students rewriting the terrain of metaphysics and ethics respectively, compatibilism was still compatibilism about free will. And, of course, incompatibilism was still incompatibilism about free will. That is, compatibilism was the view that free will was compatible with determinism. Incompatibilism was the view that free will was incompatible with determinism.1 What philosophers argued about was whether free will was compatible with determinism. Mostly, this was an argument about how to understand claims that one could do otherwise. You needn’t have bothered to talk about moral responsibility, because it was just obvious that you couldn’t have moral responsibility without free will. The literature was a temple of clarity. Then, somehow, things began to go horribly wrong. To be sure, there had been some activity in the 1960s that would have struck some observers as ominous. Still, it was not until the 1980s that those initial warning signs gave way to real trouble. The meanings of terms twisted
Keywords Incompatibilism  Compatibilism  Revisionism  Free Will  Conceptual Analysis  History of Free Will  Frankfurt  Strawson  van Inwagen
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Dylan Murray & Eddy Nahmias (2014). Explaining Away Incompatibilist Intuitions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):434-467.

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Manuel Vargas (2009). Five Questions on Philosophy of Action. In Jesus Aguilar & Andre Buckareff (eds.), Philosophy of Action: 5 Questions. Automatic/VIP Press.

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