According to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities, an agent is morally responsible for an action of hers only if she could have done otherwise. The notion of a robust alternative plays a prominent role in recent attacks on PAP based on so-called Frankfurt cases. In this paper I defend the truth of PAP for blameworthy actions against Frankfurt cases recently proposed by Derk Pereboom and David Widerker. My defence rests on some intuitively plausible principles that yield a new understanding of (...) the concept of a robust alternative. I will leave aside whether PAP also holds for praiseworthy actions -/- Según el Principio de Posibilidades Alternativas, un agente es moralmente responsable de una acción sólo si hubiera podido actuar de otro modo. La noción de alternativa robusta desempeña un papel prominente en ataques recientes al PPA basados en los llamados casos Frankfurt. En este artículo defiendo el PPA para la culpabilidad moral frente a casos Frankfurt propuestos recientemente por Derk Pereboom y David Widerker. Mi defensa descansa en algunos principios intuitivamente plausibles que dan lugar a una comprensión nueva del concepto de alternativa robusta. No trataré la cuestión de la verdad del PPA para acciones moralmente laudables. (shrink)
This new textbook is an exceptionally clear and concise introduction to the philosophy of action, suitable for students interested in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of social sciences. Moya begins by considering the problem of agency: how are we to understand the distinction between actions and happenings, between actions we perform and things that happen to us? Moya outlines and examines a range of philosophical responses to this problem. He also develops his own original view, treating the analysis (...) of meaningful action as the basis for understanding the distinctive interplay of agency, intention and commitment. Subsequent chapters examine recent attempts to integrate our understanding of action with the view of the world provided by the natural sciences. The work of Donald Davidson is examined in detail. Moya also discusses the views of many other authors who have contributed to recent debates in the philosophy of action, including Anscombe, Churchland, Harman, Hornsby, Goldman and O'Shaughnessy. (shrink)
This paper is a critical comment on an article of David Widerker which also appeared in the Journal of Philosophy. In this article, Wideker held, against positions previously defended by him, that in was possible to design effective counterexamples, in the line initiated by Harry Frankfurt in 1969, to the so-called “Principle of Alternative Possibilities”. The core of my criticism of Widerker is to deny that agents, in his putative counterexamples, are morally responsible for their decisions, owing to the fact (...) they are not able to respond appropriately to moral reasons. (shrink)
In this paper I deal with Richard Moran's account of self-knowledge in his book Authority and Estrangement. After presenting the main lines of his account, I contend that, in spite of its novelty and interest, it may have some shortcomings. Concerning beliefs formed through deliberation, the account would seem to face problems of circularity or regress. And it looks also wanting concerning beliefs not formed in this way. I go on to suggest a diagnosis of these problems, according to which (...) they would arise out of a view of agents too strongly dependent on the will. /// Este trabajo se ocupa de la concepción del autoconocimiento en el libro de Richard Moran Authority and Estrangement. Tras presentar las líneas maestras de dicha concepción, sostengo que ésta, a pesar de su novedad e interés, podría adolecer de defectos importantes. Así, con respecto a las creencias formadas mediante la deliberación, la propuesta de Moran parece enfrentarse a problemas de circularidad o de regreso. Y parece también insatisfactoria acerca de creencias no formadas de ese modo. Finalmente, sugiero un diagnóstico de estos problemas, según el cual éstos surgirían de una concepción de los agentes excesivamente dependiente de la voluntad. (shrink)
My main aim in this paper is to improve and give further support to a defense of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) against Frankfurt cases which I put forward in some previous work. In the present paper I concentrate on a recent Frankfurt case, Pereboom's "Tax Evasion". After presenting the essentials of my defense of PAP and applying it to this case, I go on to consider several objections that have been (or might be) raised against it and argue (...) that they don't succeed. I conclude by pointing out that my criticism of Pereboom's example suggests a general strategy against other actual or possible Frankfurt cases. (shrink)
In her recent book Causation and Free Will, Carolina Sartorio develops a distinctive version of an actual-sequence account of free will, according to which, when agents choose and act freely, their freedom is exclusively grounded in, and supervenes on, the actual causal history of such choices or actions. Against this proposal, I argue for an alternative- possibilities account, according to which agents’ freedom is partly grounded in their ability to choose or act otherwise. Actual-sequence accounts of freedom are motivated by (...) a reflection on so-called Frankfurt cases. Instead, other cases, such as two pairs of examples originally designed by van Inwagen, threaten actual-sequence accounts, including Sartorio’s. On the basis of her view of causation, Sartorio contends, however, that the two members of each pair have different causal histories, so that her view is not undermined by those cases after all. I discuss these test cases further and defend my alternative-possibilities account of freedom. (shrink)
El objetivo del presente trabajo es defender el Principio de posibilidades alternativas (ppa) frente a dos recientes supuestos contraejemplos a éste, inspirados en el que diseñó, hace ya cuarenta años, Harry Frankfurt. Las tres primeras secciones resumen el estado de la cuestión. A partir de la cuar..
In his paper “What the externalist can know a priori”, Paul Boghossian rejects the compatibility between self-knowledge and content externalism by arguing that compatibilists are committed to the absurd view that a subject can know, by reasoning purely a priori, substantive truths about the world, such as that water exists. In this paper I try to show that Boghossian’s incompatibilist argument does not succeed. According to Boghossian, it is enough, for an externalist to reach the undesired conclusion, that she satisfies (...) a number of conditions that can be known by her a priori. I argue that, by an externalist’s lights, some of these conditions are simply too weak to be acceptable by her and some of them can only be known a posteriori. So, compatibilists are not committed to the absurdity Boghossian ascribes to them. (shrink)
Tanto las teorías causales como las teorías no causales de la acción consideran la relación de justificación entre razones y acción como una relación no causal, de caracter puramente lógico o conceptual. Según las teodas causales, la acción intencional ha de satisfacer, independientemente de la condicion de justificación, una condición adicional de causalidad. En este artículo se sostiene, en cambio, que el concepto de justificación es ya causal, de modo que no es necesario exigir un requisito causal independiente para entender (...) el concepto de acción intencional. Esta concepción causal de la justificación y de la acción intencional no se ve expuesta al problema de las cadenas causales desviadas que afecta a las teorías causales ortodoxas ni a la amenaza deI epifenomenismo de las propiedades mentales. -/- Both causal and non-causal action theories take the justification relation to be a non-causal, purely conceptual or logical relation between reasons and action. According to causal theorists, intentional action has to satisfy, besides the justification condition, an additional and independent causal condition. In this paper it is held, however, that justification is already a causal concept, so that there is no need to resort to an independent causal requirement in order to understand the concept of intentional action. This causal view of justification and intentional action does not face either the problem of wayward causalchains which infects orthodox causal theories or the threat of epiphenomenalism of mental properties. (shrink)
In this paper I address the question whether self-knowledge is compatible with an externalist individuation of mental content. Against some approaches, I consider self-knowledge as a genuine cognitive achievement. Though it is neither incorrigible nor infallible, self-knowledge is direct, a priori (no based on empirical investigation), presumptively true and authoritative. The problem is whether self-knowledge, so understood, is compatible with externalism. My answer will be affirmative. I will defend this species of compatibilism against several objections, in particular those based on (...) the possibility of an individual’s being unwittingly switched between worlds. (shrink)
In a recent article, Robert Lockie brings about a critical examination of three Frankfurtstyle cases designed by David Widerker and Derk Pereboom. His conclusion is that these cases do not refute either the Principle of Alternative Possibilities or some cognate leeway principle for moral responsibility. Though I take the conclusion to be true, I contend that Lockie's arguments do not succeed in showing it. I concentrate on Pereboom's Tax Evasion 2. After presenting Pereboom's example and analyzing its structure, I distinguish (...) two strategies of Lockie's to defend PAP against it, which I call "No True Alternative Decision" and "No Responsibility", respectively. According to NTAD, Pereboom's example fails because the agent has alternatives to his decision. I hold that this strategy is faulty because the alternatives that Lockie points to are arguably not robust enough to save PAP. According to NR, the example fails because the agent is not blameworthy for his decision. After defending the intuitiveness of the agent's blameworthiness, I present Lockie's arguments against this blameworthiness and suggest that they might beg the question against Frankfurt theorists. I examine Lockie's main response to this question-begging objection and hold that it does not clearly succeed in meeting it. Moreover, I hold that this response faces other important problems. Additional responses appear to be unsatisfactory as well. Hence, Lockie's defense of the agent's blamelessness lacks justification. The general conclusion is that Lockie does not succeed in defusing Pereboom's Tax Evasion 2 as a counterexample to PAP. (shrink)
In some important papers, and especially in his 'The Problem of the Essential Indexical', John Perry has argued that we should draw a clear distinction between two aspects of belief: its causal role in action, on the one hand, and its semantic content (the proposition that is believed), on the other. According to Perry, beliefs with the same semantic content (with the same truth conditions) may have a very different causal influence on the subject¿s action. In this paper, we show (...) that Perry's arguments in favor of this thesis are not sound and defend, against him, the common sense intuition according to which what leads us to act as we do is what we believe (the semantic content of our belief), or, in other words, that there is no schism between the semantic content and the causal role of our beliefs. (shrink)
In his article 'Individualism and Descartes' (Teorema, vol. 16, pp. 71-86), William Ferraiolo puts into question the widely accepted interpretation of Descartes as an individualist about mental content. In this paper, I defend this interpretation of Descartes thought against Ferraiolo's objections. I hold, first, that the interpretation is not historically misguided. Second, I try to show that Descartes’s endorsement of anti-individualism would lead either to depriving skeptical hypotheses of their force or to rejecting the epistemological privilege of the first person. (...) Finally, I argue that Ferraiolo’s objections to the individualistic interpretation rest on two important errors: a misapprehension of the argumentative order of the Meditations and a confusion between the notions of causal and constitutive dependence of content on the external environment. (shrink)
En el presente trabajo sostenemos que la concepción de la intencionalidad en la teoría de la acción más ampliamente aceptada en la actualidad hace difícil una comprensión adecuada del papel de las emociones en la génesis e interpretación de la acción. La asimilación de las emociones a actitudes intencionales descuida lo que cabría llamar su contenido emocional y pasa por alto importantes diferencias entre su contenido intencional y el de las actitudes intencionales paradigmáticas, como creencias, deseos e intenciones. Sugerimos, sobre (...) esta base, que las relaciones externas y causales deberían tener un lugar más destacado en la comprensión y explicación de las acciones humanas. (shrink)
Davidson’s antisceptical considerations, like Putnam’s, are transcendental in character: they start from facts that the sceptic has to accept, and are intended to show that those facts would not be such if the sceptical hypotheses were true. It is doubtful that these considerations are finally successful. However, I do not think that Davidson was really interested in a detailed refutation of scepticism. His interest focused instead on the context which gives rise to it: the Cartesian image of the relationships between (...) subjectivity, intersubjectivity, and objectivity. Correspondingly, the true value of Davidson’s antisceptical reflections lies in the alternative image that inspires them, in the light of which scepticism no longer appears as an urgent and interesting problem. (shrink)
El neokantismo suele considerarse con frecuencia un apéndice poco significativo de la filosofía kantiana. Por esta razón, la contribución filosófica de los neokantianos ha sufrido en mucho tiempo una desatención inmerecida, aun cuando, por ejemplo, la escuela de Marburgo constituyó un interesante intento de superación de Kant. De todas formas, y afortunadamente, sí ha habido de cuando en cuando, expresiones de aprecio hacia los neokantianos, y, también, en particular, hacia la obra de Ernst Cassirer. A mediados de los sesenta, Paul (...) Ricoeur publicaba De l’interprétation: Essai sur Freud, y, quien insinuaba ya su incipiente teoría del símbolo, reconocía su deuda para con Cassirer, por haber establecido—en palabras del francés—lo simbólico como denominador común de todas las maneras de objetivar, y plantear así, por vez primera, “el problema del remembramiento del lenguaje”. A pesar de lo desafortunada que ha sido la recepción de la obra cassireriana, la vastedad temática que Cassirer tuvo la osadía de afrontar, hace posible que sus influencias sean múltiples. Pues bien, tardíamente y después de un largo olvido, en las últimas dos décadas se ha emprendido, por así decir, la rehabilitación intelectual del legado cassireriano: el proyecto de publicación de los escritos inéditos viene a coincidir con la constitución de la International Ernst Cassirer Society, y, por otra parte, el número de títulos consagrados al alemán se ha incrementado notoriamente. (shrink)
Davidson’s famous 1963 paper “Actions, Reasons, and Causes” contains, in nuce, the main lines of Davidson’s philosophy of action and mind. It also contains the seeds of some major problems of Davidson’s thought in these fields. I shall defend, following Davidson, that rationalization or reasons explanation is a species of causal explanation, but I will be contending, against Davidson’s approach, that causality is best viewed, in this kind of explanation, as an integral aspect of justification itself, and not as an (...) independent, additional condition. (shrink)
En su artículo de 2000, Hookway pretende argumentar que el principio de justificación inferencial de Fumerton no tiene las consecuencias escépticas que Fumerton observa en él. Nosotros consideramos que Hookway está en lo cierto. Sin embargo, después de hacer algunos comentarios acerca de sus principales consideraciones a favor de esta tesis, desarrollamos una línea argumentativa independiente que refuerce esa misma conclusión.
In this paper, I want to defend the proposal that one has to be a realist about the existence and causal efficacy of reasons if one wants to have rationally justified actions. On this basis, I will propose to understand intentional action in terms of justification alone, not in terms of justification plus causation. I shall argue that an action is intentional, under a certain description, if, and only if, it is justified, under that description, by the agent’s reasons. The (...) proposal recommends itself as being capable of solving the problem of wayward causal chains and is promising as a way of avoiding epiphenomenalism of mental properties. (shrink)
Tras su prematura muerte, se ha escrito mucho sobre la personalidad filosófica y política de Josep Lluís Blasco. Siendo sin duda importantes y admirables estos aspectos, para mí fue sobre todo una persona amiga, buena y amable, en el sentido literal de este término, y cuya pérdida me ha producido un desconsuelo irreparable. Así, la redacción de estas líneas no es para mí un mero ejercicio profesional, sino un deber de gratitud y afecto.
In his 2000 paper, Hookway intends to argue that Fumerton’s Principle of Inferential Justification does not have the sceptical consequences that Fumerton sees into it. We think Hookway is right in holding this. However, after commenting on his main considerations for this thesis, we shall develop an independent line of argument which reinforces the same conclusion.
Sila elección está causada por factores ajenos a la voluntad del agente, la libertad y la responsabilidad moral parecen perder su base. Pero si la elección carece de causas, se convierte en un acto irracional y, con ello, irresponsable. La salida de este dilema consiste en advertir la importancia de las razones morales en la deliberación práctica. De acuerdo con la tesis central del presente trabajo, la sensibilidad hacia las razones morales es una condición necesaria de la libertad y la (...) responsabilidad moral. La inconmensurabilidad de tales razones con las razones no morales concede a la elección el lugar central que demanda la responsabilidad moral, pero, al mismo tiempo, la mantiene vinculada a la racionalidad, evitando su conversión en un acto irresponsable. Si esto es así, la disminución (o pérdida) de la sensibilidad de un agente hacia las razones morales significa también la disminución (o pérdida) de su libertad y responsabilidad moral. (shrink)
This paper is intended to defend the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (pap)against two recent putative counterexamples to it, inspired by the one that HarryFrankfurt designed forty years ago. The first three sections provide a summary of the state of the art. In the remaining sections, the counterexamples to pap o Widerker’s (“Brain-Malfunction-W”) and Pereboom’s (“Tax Evasion”) are successively presented and discussed. We hold that both examples breach at least one otwo conditions that are required in order to refute pap, namely, (...) (1) that the agent is morally responsible for his/her decision and (2) that s/he lacks any morally significant (“robust”) alternatives to it. Regarding (1), the examples face several problems concerning the “reasons-responsiveness” of the agent’s mechanism of deliberation and decision making, which throws doubts upon his/her moral responsibility. Regarding (2), we try to show that the respective agents have robust alternatives within their reach. We conclude, then, that pap is not refuted by these examples. (shrink)
In this paper, we distinguish two ways in which someone can be said to believe a proposition. In the light of this distinction, we question the widely held equivalence between considering a proposition true and believing that proposition. In some cases, someone can consider a proposition true and not properly believe it. This leads to a distinction between the conventional meaning of the sentence by which a subject expresses a belief and the content of this belief. We also question some (...) principles of belief ascription, suggest a solution to a famous puzzle about belief and defend the unity of the semantic and causalaspects of beliefs. (shrink)
This paper is intended to meet some objections that Vermazen has raised about the treatment of the regress-problem in the author's book on the philosophy of action. This problem is shown to involve a skeptical claim about the very existence of actions as distinct from happenings. It is argued, against Vermazen's contention, that only one version of the problem is at work in that book and that, while Danto's basic actions, McCann's volitions and O'Shaughnessy's and Hornsby's tryings do not solve, (...) after analysis, that version of the problem, the author's proposal does in fact provide a solution to it. (shrink)