24 found
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  1. Blameworthiness without wrongdoing.Justin A. Capes - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):417-437.
    In this article I argue that it is possible to be blameworthy for doing something that was not objectively morally wrong. If I am right, this would have implications for several debates at the intersection of metaphysics and moral philosophy. I also float a view about which actions can serve as legitimate bases for blame that allows for the possibility of blameworthiness without objective wrongdoing and also suggests an explanation for the appeal of the commonly held view that blameworthiness requires (...)
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  2. Frankfurt cases: the fine-grained response revisited.Justin A. Capes & Philip Swenson - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):967-981.
    Frankfurt cases are supposed to provide us with counterexamples to the principle of alternative possibilities. Among the most well known responses to these cases is what John Fischer has dubbed the flicker of freedom strategy. Here we revisit a version of this strategy, which we refer to as the fine-grained response. Although a number of philosophers, including some who are otherwise unsympathetic to Frankfurt’s argument, have dismissed the fine grained response, we believe there is a good deal to be said (...)
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  3.  67
    Strict moral liability.Justin A. Capes - 2019 - Social Philosophy and Policy 36 (1):52-71.
    :Strict liability in tort law is thought by some to have a moral counterpart. In this essay I attempt to determine whether there is, in fact, strict liability in the moral domain. I argue that there is, and I critically evaluate several accounts of its normative foundations before suggesting one of my own.
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  4.  44
    Against (modified) buffer cases.Justin A. Capes - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):711-723.
    I defend the principle of alternative possibilities against what are sometimes known as buffer cases, which are supposed by some to be counterexamples to the principle. I develop an existing problem with the claim that standard buffer cases are counterexamples to PAP, before responding to a recent attempt by Michael McKenna to modify the cases in a way that circumvents this problem. While McKenna’s strategy does avoid the problem, I argue that it faces a different difficulty. I conclude that buffer (...)
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  5. Action, responsibility and the ability to do otherwise.Justin A. Capes - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (1):1-15.
    Here it is argued that in order for something someone “does” to count as a genuine action, the person needn’t have been able to refrain from doing it. If this is right, then two recent defenses of the principle of alternative possibilities, a version of which says that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have refrained from doing it, are unsuccessful.
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  6. Mitigating Soft Compatibilism.Justin A. Capes - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):640-663.
    According to what I will call mitigating soft compatibilism, although the truth of determinism is consistent with free action and moral responsibility, determinism nevertheless mitigates praiseworthiness and blameworthiness. In this paper, I take a closer look at this novel brand of compatibilism. My principal aim in doing so is to further explicate the view and to explore ways in which it can be deployed in defense of the more general compatibilist thesis. I also discuss one of the most pressing challenges (...)
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  7.  80
    Incompatibilism and the transfer of non-responsibility.Justin A. Capes - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1477-1495.
    Arguments for the incompatibility of determinism and moral responsibility sometimes make use of various transfer of non-responsibility principles. These principles purport to specify conditions in which lack of moral responsibility is transmitted to the consequences of things for which people are not morally responsible. In this paper, after developing what I take to be the most serious objections to extant principles of this sort, I identify and defend a new transfer of non-responsibility principle that is immune to these and other (...)
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  8. What the Consequence Argument Is an Argument For.Justin A. Capes - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):50-56.
    The consequence argument is among the most influential arguments for the conclusion that free will and determinism are incompatible. Recently, however, it has become increasingly clear that the argument fails to establish that particular incompatibilist conclusion. Even so, a version of the argument can be formulated that supports a different incompatibilist conclusion, according to which free will is incompatible with our behavior being predetermined by factors beyond our control. This conclusion, though not equivalent to the traditional incompatibilist thesis that determinism (...)
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  9.  85
    The Flicker of Freedom: A Reply to Stump.Justin A. Capes - 2014 - The Journal of Ethics 18 (4):427-435.
    In a fascinating article in The Journal of Ethics, Eleonore Stump contends that while the flicker of freedom defense is the best available strategy for defending the principle of alternative possibilities against the threat posed to that principle by the Frankfurt cases, the defense is ultimately unsuccessful. In this article I identify a number of difficulties with Stump’s criticism of the flicker strategy. Along the way, I also clarify various nuances of the strategy that often get overlooked, and I highlight (...)
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  10. Libertarianism and agentive experience.Justin A. Capes - 2023 - Philosophical Issues 33 (1):33-44.
    Libertarianism about free will conjoins the thesis that free will requires indeterminism with the thesis that we have free will. Here the claim that we have experiential evidence for the libertarian position is assessed. It is argued that, on a straightforward reading, the claim is false, for our experiences as agents don't support the claim that free will requires indeterminism. However, our experiences as agents may still have a role to play in an overall case for libertarianism, insofar as they (...)
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  11. The W-Defense Defended.Justin A. Capes - 2024 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 11.
    The W-defense is among the most prominent arguments for the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP). Here I offer some considerations in support of the W-defense and respond to what I see as the most forceful objections to it to date. My response to these objections invokes the well-known flicker of freedom response to Frankfurt cases. I argue that the W-defense and the flicker response are mutually reinforcing and together yield a compelling defense of PAP.
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  12. The W-defense.Justin A. Capes - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (1):61-77.
    There has been a great deal of critical discussion of Harry Frankfurt’s argument against the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), almost all of which has focused on whether the Frankfurt-style examples, which are designed to be counterexamples to PAP, can be given a coherent formulation. Recently, however, David Widerker has argued that even if Frankfurt-style examples can be given a coherent formulation, there is reason to believe that an agent in those examples could never be morally blameworthy for what she (...)
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  13. Unavoidable actions.Justin A. Capes - 2023 - Philosophical Explorations 27 (1):57-73.
    ABSTRACT It’s often assumed, especially in discussions of free will and moral responsibility, that unavoidable actions are possible. In recent years, however, several philosophers have questioned that assumption. Their views are considered here, and the possibility of unavoidable actions is defended and then applied to issues in action theory and in the literature on moral responsibility.
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  14.  89
    Freedom with Causation.Justin A. Capes - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (2):327-338.
    Our actions have causes, some of which are beyond our control. Of that there can be no serious doubt. Some worry that this fact undermines the commonsense view that we perform free actions for which we are morally responsible. My aim in this article is to show that such worries are unfounded and, consequently, that pure non-causal theories of free action, according to which free actions must be entirely uncaused, are false. My argument for this conclusion doesn’t presuppose the cogency (...)
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  15. Blameworthiness and Buffered Alternatives.Justin A. Capes - 2016 - American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (3):269-280.
    Frankfurt cases are designed to be counterexamples to the principle of alternative possibilities, a version of which states that an agent is blameworthy for what she did only if there was an alternative course of action available to her at the time, the availability of which is relevant per se to an explanation of why the agent is blameworthy for her action. In this article, I argue that the buffer cases, which are among the most promising and influential Frankfurt cases (...)
     
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  16. Can 'downward causation' save free will?Justin A. Capes - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (1):131-142.
    Recently, Trenton Merricks has defended a libertarian view of human freedom. He claims that human persons have downward causal control of their constituent parts, and that downward causal control of this sort is sufficient for free will. In this paper I examine Merricks’s defense of free will, and argue that it is unsuccessful. I show that having downward causal control is not sufficient for for free will. In an Appendix I also argue that Merricks’s defense of free will, together with (...)
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  17.  59
    On penance.Justin A. Capes - 2024 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (3):607-620.
    Penance is often said to be a part of the process of making amends for wrongdoing. Here I clarify the nature of penance as a remedial action, highlighting the differences between it and more familiar corrective actions such as reparation and apology, and I offer an account of how penance contributes to the expiation of wrongdoing. In doing so, I reject a popular view according to which one does penance primarily by either punishing oneself or voluntarily submitting to punishment at (...)
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  18.  56
    Death, Betrayal, and a Guardian Angel.Justin A. Capes - 2017 - Philosophical Papers 46 (2):191-210.
    A familiar Epicurean argument for the conclusion that death is not bad for those who die goes like this. The dead cannot experience anything, including being dead and its effects. But something is bad for an individual only if that person can experience it or its effects. Therefore, death is not bad for those who die. In this article, I consider several alleged counterexamples to this argument's second premise, along with some responses to them. The responses are not entirely without (...)
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  19. I Couldn't Help It! Essays on Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities.Justin A. Capes - 2011 - Dissertation,
    According to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP), a person is blameworthy for what he did only if he could have avoided doing it. This principle figures importantly in disputes about the relationship between determinism, divine foreknowledge, free will and moral responsibility, and has been the subject of considerable controversy for over forty years now. Proponents of the principle have devoted a good deal of energy and ingenuity to defending it against various objections. Surprisingly, however, they have devoted comparatively little (...)
     
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  20.  32
    Moral Responsibility and the Flicker of Freedom.Justin A. Capes - 2023 - Oxford University Press.
    This book addresses a longstanding controversy concerning whether Frankfurt cases—thought experiments of a sort devised by Harry Frankfurt—are counterexamples to the principle of alternative possibilities (roughly, the principle that a person is morally responsible for what he did only if he could have avoided doing it). Frankfurt and many others contend that they are, but here it is argued that, far from being counterexamples to the principle, Frankfurt cases actually provide further confirmation of it, a conclusion that has important implications (...)
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  21.  30
    Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility, written by Manuel Vargas. [REVIEW]Justin A. Capes - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (2):245-248.
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  22.  26
    Alfred Mele, Aspects of Agency: Decisions, Abilities, Explanations, and Free Will. [REVIEW]Justin A. Capes - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (6):683-685.
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  23.  81
    James Stacey Taylor, Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics: Routledge, New York, 2012, 228 pp. $130 Hbk. [REVIEW]Justin A. Capes - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (1):181-182.
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  24.  19
    K. Timpe and D. Speak : Free Will & Theism: Connections, Contingencies, and Concerns: Oxford University Press, New York, 2016, 316 pp, $85.00. [REVIEW]Justin A. Capes - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84 (1):153-157.
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