On the Signpost Principle of Alternate Possibilities: Why Contemporary Frankfurt-Style Cases are Irrelevant to the Free Will Debate

Filosofiska Notiser 2 (3):107-120 (2015)
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Abstract

This article contends that recent attempts to construct Frankfurt-style cases (FSCs) are irrelevant to the debate over free will. The principle of alternate possibilities (PAP) states that moral responsibility requires indeterminism, or multiple possible futures. Frankfurt's original case purported to demonstrate PAP false by showing an agent can be blameworthy despite not having the ability to choose otherwise; however he admits the agent can come to that choice freely or by force, and thus has alternate possibilities. Neo-FSCs attempt to show that alternate possibilities are irrelevant to explaining an agent's moral responsibility, but a successful Neo-FSC would be consistent with the truth of PAP, and thus is silent on the big metaphysical issues at the center of the free will debate.

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References found in this work

Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Moral Luck.B. A. O. Williams & T. Nagel - 1976 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 50 (1):115-152.
The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Galen J. Strawson - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 75 (1-2):5-24.

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