This book deals with foundational issues in the theory of the nature of action, the intentionality of action, the compatibility of freedom of action with determinism, and the explantion of action. Ginet's is a volitional view: that every action has as its core a 'simple' mental action. He develops a sophisticated account of the individuation of actions and also propounds a challenging version of the view that freedom of action is incompatible with determinism.
This paper first distinguishes three alternative views that adherents to both incompatibilism and PAP may take as to what constitutes an agent''s determining or controlling her action (if it''s not the action''s being deterministically caused by antecedent events): the indeterministic-causation view, the agent-causation view, and "simple indeterminism." The bulk of the paper focusses on the dispute between simple indeterminism - the view that the occurrence of a simple mental event is determined by its subject if it possesses the "actish" phenomenal (...) quality and is undetermined by antecedent events - and Timothy O''Connor''s agent-causation view. It defends simple indeterminism against O''Connor''s objections to it and offers objections to O''Connor''s view. (shrink)
This paper examines the account of guidance control given in Fischer and Ravizza's book, Responsibility and Control, with the aim of revising it so as to make it a better account of what needs to be added to having alternatives open to yield a specification of the control condition for responsibility that will be acceptable to an adherent of the principle that one is responsible for something only if one could have avoided it.
This paper defends my claim in earlier work that certain non-causal conditions are sufficient for the truth of some reasons explanations of actions, against the critique of this claim given by Randolph Clarke in his book, Libertarian Accounts of Free Will.
One of the most influential analytic philosophers of the late twentieth century, William P. Alston is a leading light in epistemology, philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of language. In this volume, twelve leading philosophers critically discuss the central topics of his work in these areas, including perception, epistemic circularity, justification, the problem of religious diversity, and truth.
ABSTRACT: This paper develops an account of what it is for a proposition to be self- evident to someone, based on the idea that certain propositions are such that to fully understand them is to believe them. It argues that when a proposition p is self-evident to one, one has non-inferential a priori justification for believing that p and, a welcome feature, a justification that does not involve exercising any special sort of intuitive faculty; if, in addition, it is true (...) that p and there exists no reason to believe that the proposition that p is incoherent, then one knows a priori that p. The paper argues that certain deeply contingent truths, e.g., the truth that I would now express by saying “I exist”, can be self-evident to, and thus known a priori by, the person they are about at the time they are about; but, since they cannot be known a priori, or even expressed, by anyone else or at any other time, they should not count as a priori truths. (shrink)
Alfred Mele and David Robb (1998, 2003) offer what they claim is a counter-example to the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP), the principle that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. In their example, a person makes a decision by his own indeterministic causal process though antecedent circumstances ensure he could not have done otherwise. Specifically, a simultaneously occurring process in him would deterministically cause the decision at the precise time (...) it actually occurs if he were not to make it 'on his own' i.e. without being deterministically caused.Their case is designed to avoid a well-known dilemma that has plagued earlier apparent counterexamples of this sort. We argue, however, that Mele andRobb's example does not have all the features necessary in order for it to undermine PAP. It still fails to avoid the original dilemma. (shrink)
The paper explicates a version of dispositionalism and defends it against Kripke's objections (in his "Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language") that 1) it leaves out the normative aspect of a rule, 2) it cannot account for the directness of the knowledge one has of what one meant, and 3) regarding rules for computable functions of numbers, a) there are numbers beyond one's capacity to consider and b) there are people who are disposed to make systematic mistakes in computing values (...) of functions they understand perfectly well. (shrink)
If moral responsibility requires uncaused action, as I believe, and if a reasons explanation of an action must be a causal explanation, as many philosophers of action suppose, then it follows that our responsible actions are ones we do for no reason, which is preposterous. In previous work I have argued against the second premise of this deduction, claiming that the statement that a person did A in order to satisfy their desire D will be true if the person, while (...) doing A, intended of that action that it contribute to satisfying their desire D, a condition that does not entail any causal connection between the explaining desire and the explained action. This claim has received trenchant criticism from Randolph Clarke. The main part of the present paper responds to Clarke’s latest objections. The rest of the paper addresses another worry about my account : does my non-causal sufficient condition hold as widely as it needs to if responsible, uncaused actions are as widespread as we would like to think? (shrink)
This paper argues that a fact which constitutes part of a subject’s being justified in adopting an action or a belief at a particular time need not be part of what induced the subject to adopt that action or belief but it must be something to which the subject had immediate access. It argues that similar points hold for justification of the involuntary acquisition of a belief and for the justification of continuing a belief (actively or dispositionally.).