In the past decade, a number of empirical researchers have suggested that laypeople have compatibilist intuitions. In a recent paper, Feltz and Millan have challenged this conclusion by claiming that most laypeople are only compatibilists in appearance and are in fact willing to attribute free will to people no matter what. As evidence for this claim, they have shown that an important proportion of laypeople still attribute free will to agents in fatalistic universes. In this paper, we first argue that (...) Feltz and Millan’s error-theory rests on a conceptual confusion: it is perfectly acceptable for a certain brand of compatibilist to judge free will and fatalism to be compatible, as long as fatalism does not prevent agents from being the source of their actions. We then present the results of two studies showing that laypeople’s intuitions are best understood as following a certain brand of source compatibilism rather than a “free-will-no-matter-what” strategy. (shrink)
Humean compatibilism is the combination of a Humean position on laws of nature and the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism. This article's aim is to situate Humean compatibilism in the current debate among libertarians, traditional compatibilists, and semicompatibilists about free will. We argue that a Humean about laws can hold that there is a sense in which the laws of nature are 'up to us' and hence that the leading style of argument for incompatibilism?the consequence (...) argument?has a false premiss. We also display some striking similarities between Humean compatibilism and libertarianism, an incompatibilist view. For example, standard libertarians face a problem about luck, and we show that Humean compatibilists face a very similar problem. (shrink)
Compatibilists argue, famously, that it is a simple incompatibilist confusion to suppose that determinism implies fatalism. Incompatibilists argue, on the contrary, that determinism implies fatalism, and thus cannot be consistent with the necessary conditions of moral responsibility. Despite their differences, however, both parties are agreed on one important matter: the refutation of fatalism is essential to the success of the compatibilist strategy. In this paper I argue that compatibilism requires a richer conception of fatalistic concern; one that recognizes the (...) _legitimacy_ of (pessimistic) concerns about the origination of character and conduct. On this basis I argue that any plausible compatibilist position must concede that determinism has fatalistic implications of some significant and relevant kind, and thus must allow that agents may be legitimately held responsible in circumstances where they are subject to fate. The position generated by these compatibilist concessions to incompatibilism will be called 'compatibilist-fatalism'. (shrink)
In this thesis, I will defend a new kind of compatibilist account of free action, indirect conscious control compatibilism (or indirect compatibilism for short), and argue that some of our actions are free according to it. My argument has three components, and involves the development of a brand new tool for experimental philosophy, and the use of cognitive neuroscience. The first component of the argument shows that compatibilism (of some kind) is a conceptual truth. Contrary to the (...) current orthodoxy in the free will literature, which is that our concept of free will is an incompatibilist concept - a concept according to which we have free will only if determinism is false - I will show that our concept of free will is in fact a compatibilist concept - a concept according to which we can have free will even if determinism is true - and I do so using a new experimental philosophy methodology inspired by two-dimensional semantics. -/- Of course, even if our concept of free will is a compatibilist concept, this does not mean that there are any free actions in the world: the current empirical evidence from the brain sciences appears to show that there might be no, or very few, free actions in the world, even on many compatibilist understandings of what it would take for there to be free will. The second component of the argument addresses this concern by extending our understanding of compatibilism. Agents act freely either when their actions are caused by compatibilistically acceptable psychological processes, or are indirectly caused by those same processes. Hence the name of my account: indirect compatibilism. -/- The final component of the argument defends my new account against some interesting objections and provides evidence from cognitive neuroscience that some of our actions count as free by the lights of indirect compatibilism. (shrink)
Compatibilist libertarianism claims that alternate possibilities for action at the agential level are consistent with determinism at the physical level. Unlike traditional compatibilism about alternate possibilities, involving conditional or dispositional accounts of the ability to act, compatibilist libertarianism offers us unqualified modalities at the agential level, consistent with physical determinism, a potentially big advance. However, I argue that the account runs up against two problems. Firstly, the way in which the agential modalities are generated talks past the worries of (...) the incompatibilist in the traditional free will problem. As such, it fails to dispel the worries that determinism generates for the incompatibilist. Secondly, in spite of the ingenious use of the supervenience thesis and multiple realizability, the position still allows us to generate the old worry that determinism at the physical level would mean no alternate possibilities at the level of agency. In particular, I develop a new example, the ‘atomic slit case’ that demonstrates how physical level information is salient to what is possible at the agential level, motivating incompatibilism. (shrink)
Compatibilism is the view that determinism is compatible with acting freely and being morally responsible. Incompatibilism is the opposite view. It is often claimed that compatibilism or incompatibilism is a natural part of ordinary social cognition. That is, it is often claimed that patterns in our everyday social judgments reveal an implicit commitment to either compatibilism or incompatibilism. This paper reports five experiments designed to identify such patterns. The results support a nuanced hybrid account: The central tendencies (...) in ordinary social cognition are compatibilism about moral responsibility, compatibilism about positive moral accountability, neither compatibilism nor incompatibilism about negative moral accountability, compatibilism about choice for actions with positive outcomes, and incompatibilism about choice for actions with negative or neutral outcomes. (shrink)
The claim that common sense regards free will and moral responsibility as compatible with determinism has played a central role in both analytic and experimental philosophy. In this paper, we show that evidence in favor of this “natural compatibilism” is undermined by the role that indeterministic metaphysical views play in how people construe deterministic scenarios. To demonstrate this, we re-examine two classic studies that have been used to support natural compatibilism. We find that although people give apparently compatibilist (...) responses, this is largely explained by the fact that people import an indeterministic metaphysics into deterministic scenarios when making judgments about freedom and responsibility. We conclude that judgments based on these scenarios are not reliable evidence for natural compatibilism. (shrink)
The terms ‘compatibilism’ and ‘incompatibilism’ were introduced in the mid-20th century to name conflicting views about the logical relationship between the thesis of determinism and the thesis that someone has free will. These technical terms were originally introduced within a specific research paradigm, the classical analytic paradigm. This paradigm is now in its final stages of degeration and few free-will theorists still work within it (i.e. using its methods, granting its substantive background assumptions, etc.). This chapter discusses how the (...) ambiguity of the terms ‘incompatibilism’ and ‘compatibilism’ took root and why it matters to the contempory debate. I explain why the ambiguity of these anachronistic terms, though relatively innocuous when they were first introduced, is now encouraging theorists to tolerate and perpetuate serious philosophical errors (e.g. to conflate relations as different in kind and importance as correlation and causation, to knowingly promote invalid arguments, and to equivoate on jargon in ways that keep the free-will debate mired in psuedo-stalemates. I also suggest a new paradigm for anyone looking for relief from the confusion and deadlock created by the use of anachronistic classical narratives and jargon. -/- A selection from the publication is available to download here. For full version, please gmail me, username: kristin.mickelson.42. (shrink)
This paper is a defense of traditional compatibilism. Traditional compatibilism is, roughly, the view that free will is essential to moral responsibility, free will requires alternative possibilities of action, or alternatives for short, and moral responsibility is compatible with determinism. Traditional compatibilism is a version of the traditional theory of free will. According to the traditional theory, a person S performed an action a freely only if S could have done otherwise, that is, only if S had (...) alternatives. The traditional theory is often contrasted with the source theory: S performed a freely only if S was the source of a. One may adopt a combined view of free will that sanctions both the traditional and source theories. As I use the terms ‘source theorist’ and ‘traditional theorist,’ the former refers to folks who accept the source theory and reject the traditional theory; the latter refers to folks who accept the traditional theory whether or not they accept the source theory. (shrink)
This paper articulates and responds to a challenge to contemporary compatibilist views of free will. Despite the popularity and appeal of compatibilist theories, many are left with lingering doubts about compatibilism. This paper explains this doubt in terms of the absurdity challenge: because a compatibilist accepts that they do not have causal access to all the actual sufficient causal sources of their own agency, the compatibilist can find their own agency absurd. By taking a cue from political philosophy, this (...) paper argues that a non-ideal construction of the problem of free will allows compatibilists to overcome this existential-metaphysical challenge, and by doing so, perhaps adopt a metaphysically progressive picture of human agency. (shrink)
…those who accept that responsibility for a situation implies an ability to bring it about and, perhaps, an ability to prevent it, must explain how agents are able to do other than they are caused to do. Without it, they can give no defense of their counterexamples. With it, they can be confident that.
Paleo-compatibilism is the view that the freedom required for moral responsibility is not incompatible with determinism about the factors relevant to moral assessment, since the claim that we are free and the claim that the psychophysical elements are causally determined are true in distinct and incommensurable ways. This is to be accounted for by appealing to the distinction between conventional truth and ultimate truth developed by Buddhist Reductionists. Paleo-compatibilists hold that the illusion of incompatibilism only arises when we illegitimately (...) mix two distinct vocabularies, one concerned with persons, the other concerned with the parts to which persons are reducible. I explore the view, its roots in Buddhist Reductionism, and its prospects. (shrink)
In this paper I will introduce a new compatibilist account of free action: indirect conscious control compatibilism, or just indirect compatibilism for short. On this account actions are free either when they are caused by compatibilist-friendly conscious psychological processes, or else by sub-personal level processes influenced in particular ways by compatibilist-friendly conscious psychological processes. This view is motivated by a problem faced by a certain family of compatibilist views, which I call conscious control views. These views hold that (...) we act freely when we act in a way that is caused by certain conscious psychological processes. One problem for such views is that current neuroscience suggests that most of our actions are not caused by such processes. Instead, many of the actions we typically suppose are free are caused by sub-personal level processes and hence would count as unfree according to contemporary conscious control views. I argue, contra these views, that many actions caused by these sub-personal level processes are indirectly free. Further, most of the actions we ordinarily judge to be free are free in this indirect manner. (shrink)
A pair of compatibilists, John Fischer (2012: ch. 6; n.d.) and Manuel Vargas (2012) have responded to a problem about luck that Alfred Mele (2005, 2006) posed for incompatibilist believers in free will and moral responsibility. They offer assistance to libertarians - at least on this front. In this paper, we assess their responses and explain why what they offer is inadequate for libertarian purposes.
Compatibilism is the view that moral responsibility is compatible with determinism. Natural compatibilism is the view that in ordinary social cognition, people are compatibilists. Researchers have recently debated whether natural compatibilism is true. This paper presents six experiments (N = 909) that advance this debate. The results provide the best evidence to date for natural compatibilism, avoiding the main methodological problems faced by previous work supporting the view. In response to simple scenarios about familiar activities, people (...) judged that agents had moral responsibilities to perform actions that they were unable to perform (Experiment 1), were morally responsible for unavoidable outcomes (Experiment 2), were to blame for unavoidable outcomes (Experiments 3-4), deserved blame for unavoidable outcomes (Experiment 5), and should suffer consequences for unavoidable outcomes (Experiment 6). These findings advance our understanding of moral psychology and philosophical debates that depend partly on patterns in commonsense morality. (shrink)
_If you were free in doing something and morally responsible for it, you could have done otherwise. That_ _has seemed a pretty firm proposition among the old, new, clear, unclear and other propositions in the_ _philosophical discussion of freedom and determinism. If you were free in what you did, there was an_ _alternative. It is also at least natural to think that if determinism is true, you can never do otherwise than_ _you do. G. E. Moore, that Cambridge reasoner in (...) whose shadow Wittgenstein ought to be standing,_ _considered the matter. He pointed out that even if determinism is true, there remains a sense in which you_ _can still do otherwise than you do: you will do otherwise if you so choose. That, on reflection, is consistent_ _with determinism. The doctrine of the compatibility of freedom and determinism is saved. Joseph Keim_ _Campbell, strong philosopher at Washington State University, provides the latest thinking on this seemingly_ _unavoidable dispute. You do not have to agree that either compatibilism or incompatibilism must be true in_ _order to appreciate the carefulness of his reasoning in this piece of ongoing American philosophy. It_ _requires and repays attention._. (shrink)
Much of the recent philosophical discussion about free will has been focused on whether compatibilists can adequately defend how a determined agent could exercise the type of free will that would enable the agent to be morally responsible in what has been called the basic desert sense :5–24, 1994; Fischer in Four views on free will, Wiley, Hoboken, 2007; Vargas in Four views on free will, Wiley, Hoboken, 2007; Vargas in Philos Stud, 144:45–62, 2009). While we agree with Derk Pereboom (...) and others that the compatibilist’s burden should be properly understood as providing a compelling account of how a determined agent could be morally responsible in the basic desert sense, the exact nature of this burden has been rendered somewhat unclear by the fact that there has been no definitive account given as to what the basic desert sense of moral responsibility amounts to. In Sect. 1 we set out to clarify the compatibilist’s burden by presenting our account of basic desert moral responsibility—which we call retributivist desert moral responsibility for purposes of clarity—and explain why it is of central philosophical and practical importance to the free will debate. In Sect. 2 we employ a thought experiment to illustrate the kind of difficulty that compatibilists of any stripe are likely to encounter in attempting to explain how determined agents can exercise the kind of free will needed for retributivist desert moral responsibility. (shrink)
Isenbergian particularism is the view that we make no appeal to general principles in criticism. Sibleyan generalism is the view that we do make appeal to general reasons in criticism. I argue that Isenbergian particularism and Sibleyan generalism are compatible one with another. I refer to their conjunction as "critical compatibilism" and argue that we ought to accept it over its rivals: strong particularism (the view that we make appeal neither to general principles nor to general reasons in criticism) (...) and strong generalism (the view that we make appeal both to general principles and to general reasons in criticism). (shrink)
The problem of freedom and determinism has vexed philosophers for several millennia, and continues to be a topic of lively debate today. One of the proposed solutions to the problem that has received a great deal of attention is the Theory of Agent Causation. While the theory has enjoyed its share of advocates, and perhaps more than its share of critics, the theory’s advocates and critics have always agreed on one thing: the Theory of Agent Causation is an incompatibilist theory. (...) That is, both believers and nonbelievers in the theory have taken it for granted that the most plausible version of the Theory of Agent Causation is one according to which freedom and determinism are incompatible. In fact, so entrenched is this assumption that no one on either side of the debate has ever questioned it. Yet it turns out that this assumption is wrong – the most plausible version of the Theory of Agent Causation is a compatibilist one. (shrink)
Some compatibilists are internalists. On their view, whether an agent is morally responsible for an action depends only on her psychological structure at that time. Other compatibilists are externalists. On their view, an agent’s history can make a difference as to whether or not she is morally responsible. In response to worries about manipulation, some internalists have claimed that compatibilism requires internalism. Recently, Alfred Mele has argued that this internalist response is untenable. The aim of this paper is to (...) vindicate the claim that compatibilism requires internalism, showing where Mele’s argument goes wrong along the way. (shrink)
Compatibilists disagree over whether there are historical conditions on moral responsibility. Historicists claim there are, whilst structuralists deny this. Historicists motivate their position by claiming to avoid the counter-intuitive implications of structuralism. I do two things in this paper. First, I argue that historicism has just as counter-intuitive implications as structuralism when faced with thought experiments inspired by those found in the personal identity literature. Hence, historicism is not automatically preferable to structuralism. Second, I argue that structuralism is much more (...) plausible once we accept that personal identity is irrelevant to moral responsibility. This paves the way for a new structuralist account that makes clear what it takes to be the diachronic ownership condition (which is normally taken to be personal identity) and the locus of moral responsibility (which is normally taken to be ‘whole’ person), and helps to alleviate the intuitive unease many have with respect to structuralism. (shrink)
Causal compatibilism claims that even though physics is causally closed, and even though mental properties are multiply realizable and are not identical to physical causal properties, mental properties are causal properties nonetheless. This position asserts that there is genuine causation at multiple descriptive/ontological levels; physics-level causal claims are not really incompatible with mentalistic causal claims. I articulate and defend a version of causal compatibilism that incorporates three key contentions. First, causation crucially involves robust patterns of counterfactual dependence among (...) properties.Second, often several distinct such patterns, all subsuming a single phenomenon, exist at different descriptive/ontological levels (e.g., microphysical, neurobiological, macrobiological, and psychological). Third, the concept of causation is governed by an implicit contextual parameter that normally determines a specific descriptive/ontological level as the contextually relevant level, for the context-sensitive semantic evaluation of causal statements. (shrink)
Terry Horgan University of Memphis In this paper I address the problem of causal exclusion, specifically as it arises for mental properties (although the scope of the discussion is more general, being applicable to other kinds of putatively causal properties that are not identical to narrowly physical causal properties, i.e., causal properties posited by physics). I summarize my own current position on the matter, and I offer a defense of this position. I draw upon and synthesize relevant discussions in various (...) <blockquote>  </blockquote> other papers of mine (some collaborative) that bear on this topic. (shrink)
Natural compatibilists say that moral responsibility is compatible with natural (or causal) determinism, where natural events and laws of nature determine everything that happens. Theological compatibilists say that moral responsibility is compatible with theological determinism, where God (rather than natural events/laws) determines everything that happens. Some philosophers accept natural compatibilism but reject theological compatibilism, and, in this chapter, I argue that this combination of views is untenable I start with a discussion of why someone might be attracted to (...) this combination of views in the first place, which includes a discussion of the manipulation argument against compatibilism. Some natural compatibilists endorse “soft-line” responses to this argument—responses which imply theological incompatibilism. I argue that such “soft-line” approaches cannot succeed, and along the way I argue that their failure undermines Jason Turner’s recent compatibilist free will defense (in response to the problem of evil). I wrap up by considering some implications of my conclusion that natural compatibilists should be theological compatibilists, including whether my conclusion highlights the “cost” of compatibilism, as proponents of manipulation arguments sometimes allege, and also whether anything follows with regard to God’s standing to blame determined human agents. (shrink)
Traditional compatibilism about free will is widely considered to be untenable. In particular, the conditional analysis of the ability to do otherwise appears to be subject to clear counterexamples. I will propose a new version of traditional compatibilism that provides a conditional account of both the ability to do otherwise and the ability to choose to do otherwise, and I will argue that this view withstands the standard objections to traditional compatibilism. For this, I will assume with (...) incompatibilists that the mere possession of a general ability to do otherwise is not sufficient for having the ability that is required for free will. This concession distinguishes the view from the traditional conditional analysis and from recent dispositional accounts of the ability to do otherwise, and we will see that this concession enables a straightforward response to the counterexamples. This, in turn, will play a crucial role in my response to the strongest version of the consequence argument for incompatibilism. (shrink)
We “prepunish” a person if we punish her prior to the commission of her crime. This essay discusses our intuitions about the permissibility of prepunishment and the relationship between prepunishment and compatibilism about free will and determinism. It has recently been argued that compatibilism has particular trouble generating a principled objection to prepunishment. The failure to provide such an objection may be a problem for compatibilism if our moral intuitions strongly favor the prohibition of prepunishment. In defense (...) of compatibilism, I argue that while no objection to prepunishment is entailed by the central tenets of compatibilism, this does not necessarily show that compatibilism conflicts with our moral intuitions. And while there may be no distinctly compatibilist objection to prepunishment, there are common-sense objections to prepunishment of which the compatibilist can make use, at least under actual-world circumstances. And, while these common-sense objections might be inoperative in certain non-actual circumstances, it is not clear that support for prepunishment would be unintuitive in these circumstances. (shrink)
A determinism of decisions and actions, despite our experience of deciding and acting and also an interpretation of Quantum Theory, is a reasonable assumption. The doctrines of Compatibilism and Incompatibilism are both false, and demonstrably so. Whole structures of culture and social life refute them, and establish the alternative of Attitudinism. The real problem of determinism has seemed to be that of accomodating ourselves to the frustration of certain attitudes, at bottom certain desires. This project of Affirmation can run (...) up against a conviction owed to reflecting on your own past life. The conviction is that an attitude akin to one tied to indeterminism, a way of holding yourself morally responsible, has some basis despite the truth of determinism. We need to look for radical ideas here, as radical as Consciousness as Existence with the problem of perceptual consciousness. Could that doctrine help with determinism and freedom? Could a problem about causation and explanation do so? (shrink)
Eddy Nahmias, with various collaborators, has used experimental data to argue for the claim that folk intuition is generally compatibilist. We try to undermine this claim in two ways. First, we argue that the various formulations of determinism he uses are not conceptually equivalent, jeopardizing the kinds of conclusions that can be drawn from the resulting data. Second, prompted by these conceptual worries we supplement the typical quantitative surveys that dominate the extant literature with short qualitative interviews. This, in turn, (...) guides us to make a minor modification to the quantitative survey that provides better access to the relevant folk intuitions. (shrink)
This paper tries to summarize the main lines of discussion at the conference "Compatibilist Libertarianism: Advantages and Challenges" (October 29, 2021). This conference, organised by Alexander Gebharter and Maria Sekatskaya, served the discussion of Christian List's account of compatibilist libertarianism. Speakers were Taylor W. Cyr, Nadine Elzein, Alexander Gebharter, Christian List, Alfred R. Mele, Leonhard Menges, Tuomas K. Pernu, and Maria Sekatskaya.
It is widely believed that (1) if theological determinism were true, in virtue of God’s role in determining created agents to perform evil actions, created agents would be neither free nor morally responsible for their evil actions and God would not be perfectly good; (2) if metaphysical compatibilism were true, the free-will defense against the deductive problem of evil would fail; and (3) on the assumption of metaphysical compatibilism, God could have actualized just any one of those myriad (...) possible worlds that are populated only by compatibilist free creatures. The primary thesis of this essay is that none of these propositions is true. This thesis is defended by appealing to a recently proposed novel, acausal, composite, unified theory of free action – the Theory of Middle Freedom – that evades the central problems plaguing traditional theories of metaphysical compatibilism. (shrink)
This article distinguishes among and examines three different kinds of argument for the thesis that moral responsibility and free action are each incompatible with the truth of determinism: straight manipulation arguments; manipulation arguments to the best explanation; and original-design arguments. Structural and methodological matters are the primary focus.
This paper 1) argues that libertarians are virtually as badly off as compatibilists in the face of the objection to the Free Will Defence that omnipotent God could have ensured that all free beings always but freely did right, and 2) explores the prospects for an "upgraded" Free Will Defense which takes freedom merely as a necessary condition for a further higher good which logically could not be achieved if God employed any of the available strategies--under both compatibilist and libertarian (...) assumptions--for creating morally free beings without the risk of moral evil. (shrink)
Free agency and moral responsibility are incompatible with causal determinism because causal determinism, properly understood, entails that originating conditions beyond the agent's control ultimately compel all human choices and actions. If causal determinism is true, then causal antecedents and laws of nature nomologically necessitate all deliberation, choice and action. If conditions beyond the agent's control ultimately compel the agent's behaviors, then the agent is not free and is not morally responsible. Compatibilists claim that externally compelled acts are not free, but (...) fail to recognize that causally determined acts are, ultimately, externally compelled. (shrink)
Compatibilism has become an increasingly popular position amongst contemporary philosophers. However, within the philosophy of religion the majority of philosophers continue to adopt an incompatibilist, usually libertarian, view of free will. This book seeks to explore whether it is possible to formulate a coherent compatibilist response to the problem of evil and, if so, whether such a response could help compatibilism to be seen as a viable, or even preferable, alternative to incompatibilism within philosophy of religion."--Back cover.
In the free will literature, some compatibilists and some incompatibilists claim that their views best capture ordinary intuitions concerning free will and moral responsibility. One goal of researchers working in the field of experimental philosophy has been to probe ordinary intuitions in a controlled and systematic way to help resolve these kinds of intuitional stalemates. We contribute to this debate by presenting new data about folk intuitions concerning freedom and responsibility that correct for some of the shortcomings of previous studies. (...) These studies also illustrate some problems that pertain to all of the studies that have been run thus far. (shrink)
The “problem of present luck” targets a standard libertarian thesis about free will. It has been argued that there is an analogous problem about luck for compatibilists. This article explores similarities and differences between the alleged problems.
행위자 원인론을 통해 자유의지 문제를 해명하려고 하는 대부분의 철학자들은 자유와 결정론이 양립할 수 없다고 생각하는 양립불가론들이다. 그러나 마코시언은 우리가 가장 전망 있다고 생각해야 하는 행위자 원인론은 양립가능론의 형태라고 주장한다. 이 글의 목적은 그가 제시하는 ‘양립가능론적 행위자 원인론’에 대해 비판적으로 고찰하는 것이다. 이를 위해 나는 먼저 행위자 원인이 존재한다고 가정하면서 그것이 결정론과 조화를 이룰 수 있는 다섯 가지 방식에 대해 검토한다. 그런 다음, 나는 마코시언의 양립가능론적 행위자 원인론이 결정론과 행위자 원인을 어떤 방식으로 조화시키고 있는지, 그리고 그것이 자유의지 문제를 해결하는 데 도움이 (...) 될 수 있는지 비판적으로 고찰한다. 이러한 고찰에 근거하여, 나는 마코시언이 제시한 양립가능론적 행위자 원인론은 자유의지 문제를 해결하는 데 도움을 주지 않는다고 결론짓는다. (shrink)
A traditional concern for determinists is that the epistemic conditions an agent must satisfy to deliberate about which of a number of distinct actions to perform threaten to conflict with a belief in determinism and its evident consequences. I develop an account of the sort that specifies two epistemic requirements, an epistemic openness condition and a belief in the efficacy of deliberation, whose upshot is that someone who believes in determinism and its evident consequences can deliberate without inconsistent beliefs. I (...) argue that conditions of both types are indispensable, and that they can be formulated so as to withstand the relevant objections. (shrink)
In this paper I offer from a source compatibilist's perspective a critical discussion of "Four Views on Free Will" by John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, Derk Pereboom, and Manuel Vargas. Sharing Fischer's semi-compatibilist view, I propose modifications to his arguments while resisting his coauthors' objections. I argue against Kane that he should give up the requirement that a free and morally responsible agent be able to do otherwise (in relevant cases). I argue against Pereboom that his famed manipulation argument be (...) resisted by contending that the agents in it are free and responsible. And I also argue against Vargas by challenging the sense in which his revisionist thesis differs from a position like Fischer's and mine. I close by reflecting on the nature of desert. All seem to assume it is central to the debate, but what is it? (shrink)
Most compatibilists have sought to defend their view by means of an analysis of the concept of ‘can’ in terms of subjunctive conditionals. Keith Lehrer opposes this analysis; he nevertheless embraces compatibilism. In a recent paper he has proposed a novel analysis of the concept of ‘can’ within the framework of possible-world semantics. The paper has provoked considerable discussion. In it Lehrer claims that he demonstrates the truth of compatibilism. Others have claimed that this is not so, but (...) at least one commentator has asserted that Lehrer's analysis strongly supports compatibilism. In this section I shall give a brief exposition of relevant portions of Lehrer's account of ‘can’ and then in the next section I shall seek to show that it fails to render compatibilism any more plausible than incompatibilism. Indeed, I shall seek to show that, if one of Lehrer's primitive concepts is understood as it seems it should be understood, then there would seem to be good reason to believe that his analysis supports not compatibilism but incompatibilism. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga defends Theological Compatibilism (TC) and Essential- ism about property possession (E). TC is the claim that human freedom to act otherwise and God’s essential omniscience are compatible, while E is the claim that every individual entity whatsoever has a modal profile consisting in having both essential and accidental properties. I purport to show that, if E is assumed in the argument for TC, then the latter leads to a very puzzling upshot. I also intend to show that, (...) even if TC is suitably fixed in order to avoid that upshot, TC is still unconvincing in that it merges into one the de re and the de dicto rendering of ‘human freedom to act otherwise’; I end up by briefly sketching why the two renderings should instead be kept well apart. (shrink)