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Philip Swenson
College of William and Mary
  1.  59
    How to Be an Actualist and Blame People.Travis Timmerman & Philip Swenson - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility 5.
    The actualism/possibilism debate in ethics concerns the relationship between an agent’s free actions and her moral obligations. The actualist affirms, while the possibilist denies, that facts about what agents would freely do in certain circumstances partly determines that agent’s moral obligations. This paper assesses the plausibility of actualism and possibilism in light of desiderata about accounts of blameworthiness. This paper first argues that actualism cannot straightforwardly accommodate certain very plausible desiderata before offering a few independent solutions on behalf of the (...)
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  2. Reasons-Responsiveness and Degrees of Responsibility.D. Justin Coates & Philip Swenson - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):629-645.
    Ordinarily, we take moral responsibility to come in degrees. Despite this commonplace, theories of moral responsibility have focused on the minimum threshold conditions under which agents are morally responsible. But this cannot account for our practices of holding agents to be more or less responsible. In this paper we remedy this omission. More specifically, we extend an account of reasons-responsiveness due to John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza according to which an agent is morally responsible only if she is appropriately (...)
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  3. Scepticism About the Argument From Divine Hiddenness.Justin P. Mcbrayer & Philip Swenson - 2012 - Religious Studies 48 (2):129 - 150.
    Some philosophers have argued that the paucity of evidence for theism — along with basic assumptions about God's nature — is ipso facto evidence for atheism. The resulting argument has come to be known as the argument from divine hiddenness. Theists have challenged both the major and minor premises of the argument by offering defences. However, all of the major, contemporary defences are failures. What unites these failures is instructive: each is implausible given other commitments shared by everyone in the (...)
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  4. Ability, Foreknowledge, and Explanatory Dependence.Philip Swenson - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):658-671.
    Many philosophers maintain that the ability to do otherwise is compatible with comprehensive divine foreknowledge but incompatible with the truth of causal determinism. But the Fixity of the Past principle underlying the rejection of compatibilism about the ability to do otherwise and determinism appears to generate an argument also for the incompatibility of the ability to do otherwise and divine foreknowledge. By developing an account of ability that appeals to the notion of explanatory dependence, we can replace the Fixity of (...)
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  5.  77
    A Challenge for Frankfurt-Style Compatibilists.Philip Swenson - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1279-1285.
    The principle of alternative possibilities tells us that an agent is morally responsible for an action only if he could have done otherwise. Frankfurt-style cases provide an extremely influential challenge to the PAP . And Frankfurt-style compatibilists are motivated to accept compatibilism about responsibility and determinism in part due to FSCs. But there is a significant tension between our judgments about responsibility in FSCs and our judgments about responsibility in certain omissions cases. This tension has thus far largely been treated (...)
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  6.  36
    Moral Responsibility Without General Ability.Taylor W. Cyr & Philip Swenson - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):22-40.
    It is widely thought that, to be morally responsible for some action or omission, an agent must have had, at the very least, the general ability to do otherwise. As we argue, however, there are counterexamples to the claim that moral responsibility requires the general ability to do otherwise. We present several cases in which agents lack the general ability to do otherwise and yet are intuitively morally responsible for what they do, and we argue that such cases raise problems (...)
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  7.  48
    The Frankfurt Cases and Responsibility for Omissions.Philip Swenson - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (264):579-595.
  8.  44
    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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  9.  28
    Subjective Deontology and the Duty to Gather Information.Philip Swenson - 2016 - Ethics 127 (1):257-271.
    Holly Smith has recently argued that Subjective Deontological Moral Theories (SDM theories) cannot adequately account for agents’ duties to gather information. I defend SDM theories against this charge and argue that they can account for agents’ duties to inform themselves. Along the way, I develop some principles governing how SDM theories, and deontological moral theories in general, should assign ‘deontic value’ or ‘deontic weight’ to particular actions.
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  10.  58
    Ability-Based Objections to No-Best-World Arguments.Brian Kierland & Philip Swenson - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (3):669-683.
    In the space of possible worlds, there might be a best possible world (a uniquely best world or a world tied for best with some other worlds). Or, instead, for every possible world, there might be a better possible world. Suppose that the latter is true, i.e., that there is no best world. Many have thought that there is then an argument against the existence of God, i.e., the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect being; we will call (...)
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  11.  20
    Fischer on Foreknowledge and Explanatory Dependence.Philip Swenson - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (4):51-61.
    I explore several issues raised in John Martin Fischer’s Our Fate: Essays on God and Free Will. First I discuss whether an approach to the problem of freedom and foreknowledge that appeals directly to the claim that God’s beliefs depend on the future is importantly different from Ockhamism. I suggest that this dependence approach has advantages over Ockhamism. I also argue that this approach gives us good reason to reject the claim that the past is fixed. Finally, I discuss Fischer’s (...)
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