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Yishai Cohen
University of Southern Maine
  1. Moral Obligations: Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist?Travis Timmerman & Yishai Cohen - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):672-686.
    Do facts about what an agent would freely do in certain circumstances at least partly determine any of her moral obligations? Actualists answer ‘yes’, while possibilists answer ‘no’. We defend two novel hybrid accounts that are alternatives to actualism and possibilism: Dual Obligations Hybridism and Single Obligation Hybridism. By positing two moral ‘oughts’, each account retains the benefits of actualism and possibilism, yet is immune from the prima facie problems that face actualism and possibilism. We conclude by highlighting one substantive (...)
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  2. Actualism Has Control Issues.Yishai Cohen & Travis Timmerman - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (3):1-18.
    According to actualism, an agent ought to φ just in case what would happen if she were to φ is better than what would happen if she were to ~φ. We argue that actualism makes a morally irrelevant distinction between certain counterfactuals, given that an agent sometimes has the same kind of control over their truth-value. We then offer a substantive revision to actualism that avoids this morally irrelevant distinction by focusing on a certain kind of control that is available (...)
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  3.  69
    An Analysis of Recent Empirical Data on ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’.Yishai Cohen - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):57-67.
    Recent experimental studies dispute the position that commonsense morality accepts ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’, the view that, necessarily, if an agent ought to perform some action, then she can perform that action. This paper considers and supports explanations for the results of these studies on the hypothesis that OIC is intuitive and true.
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  4.  85
    Molinists Cannot Endorse the Consequence Argument.Yishai Cohen - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 77 (3):231-246.
    Perszyk has argued that Molinists cannot consistently endorse the consequence argument because of a structurally similar argument for the incompatibility of true Molinist counterfactuals of freedom and the ability to do otherwise. Wierenga has argued that on the proper understanding of CCFs, there is a relevant difference between the consequence argument and the anti-Molinist argument. I argue that, even on Wierenga’s understanding of CCFs, there is in fact no relevant difference between the two arguments. Moreover, I strengthen Perszyk’s challenge by (...)
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  5.  80
    Leeway Compatibilism and Frankfurt‐Style Cases.Yishai Cohen - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):89-98.
    The new dispositionalists defend the position that an agent in a deterministic Frankfurt-style case has the ability to do otherwise, where that ability is the one at issue in the principle of alternative possibilities. Focusing specifically on Kadri Vihvelin's proposal, I argue against this position by showing that it is incompatible with the existence of structurally similar cases to FSCs in which a preemptive intervener bestows an agent with an ability.
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  6. Reasons-Responsiveness and Time Travel.Yishai Cohen - 2014 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (3):1-7.
    I argue that the theory of moral responsibility defended by John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza is incompatible with the metaphysical possibility of time travel.
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  7.  78
    The Manipulation Argument, At the Very Least, Undermines Classical Compatibilism.Yishai Cohen - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (2):291-307.
    The compatibility of determinism and the ability to do otherwise has been implicitly assumed by many to be irrelevant to the viability of compatibilist responses to the manipulation argument for incompatibilism. I argue that this assumption is mistaken. The manipulation argument may be unsound. But even so, the manipulation argument, at the very least, undermines classical compatibilism, the view that free will requires the ability to do otherwise, and having that ability is compatible with determinism. This is because classical compatibilism, (...)
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  8. Fischer’s Deterministic Frankfurt-Style Argument.Yishai Cohen - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (1):121-140.
    According to the Dilemma Defense, it is question-begging against the incompatibilist defender of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) to assume that the agent in a deterministic Frankfurt-style case (FSC) cannot do otherwise in light of causal determinism, but is nevertheless morally responsible. As a result, Fischer (Philos Rev 119:315–336, 2010; Analysis 73:489–496, 2013) attempts to undermine PAP in a different manner via a deterministic FSC. More specifically, Fischer attempts to show that if causal determinism rules out an agent’s moral (...)
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  9.  51
    Deliberating in the Presence of Manipulation.Yishai Cohen - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (1):85-105.
    According to deliberation compatibilism, rational deliberation is compatible with the belief that one’s actions are causally determined by factors beyond one’s control. This paper offers a counterexample to recent accounts of rational deliberation that entail deliberation compatibilism. The counterexample involves a deliberator who believes that whichever action she performs will be the result of deterministic manipulation. It is further argued that there is no relevant difference between the purported counterexample and ordinary doxastic circumstances in which a determinist deliberates.
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  10. Endless Future: A Persistent Thorn in the Kalām Cosmological Argument.Yishai Cohen - 2015 - Philosophical Papers 44 (2):165-187.
    Wes Morriston contends that William Lane Craig's argument for the impossibility of a beginningless past results in an equally good argument for the impossibility of an endless future. Craig disagrees. I show that Craig's reply reveals a commitment to an unmotivated position concerning the relationship between actuality and the actual infinite. I then assess alternative routes to the impossibility of a beginningless past that have been offered in the literature, and show that, contrary to initial appearances, these routes similarly seem (...)
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  11.  31
    Atonement’s Axiological Boundaries.Yishai Cohen - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (3):177-195.
    According to the Felix Culpa Theodicy, worlds containing atonement and incarnation are of such great value that God is justified in actualizing such a world, despite all of the moral evil that has accompanied it. Focusing upon Alvin Plantinga’s articulation of this theodicy, I argue against FCT on the basis of normative ethical considerations. On the one hand, the deontic status of at least some actions depends upon the consequences of those actions. On the other hand, the existence of atonement (...)
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  12.  97
    Agential Settling Requires a Conscious Intention.Yishai Cohen - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (01):139-155.
    Helen Steward holds that an agent’s settling something does not require a conscious, full-fledged intention. Rather, sub-intentional acts can be instances of settling by the agent if that act is subordinated to the agent’s personal-level conscious systems. I argue that this position is mistaken, and that agential settling does in fact require a conscious intention. I argue for this claim by offering a case which on Steward’s position has counterintuitive implications. I consider a variety of ways in which Steward might (...)
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  13.  65
    Skeptical Theism and the Threshold Problem.Yishai Cohen - 2013 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 18 (1):73-92.
    In this paper I articulate and defend a new anti-theodicy challenge to Skeptical Theism. More specifically, I defend the Threshold Problem according to which there is a threshold to the kinds of evils that are in principle justifiable for God to permit, and certain instances of evil are beyond that threshold. I further argue that Skeptical Theism does not have the resources to adequately rebut the Threshold Problem. I argue for this claim by drawing a distinction between a weak and (...)
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  14.  69
    Counterfactuals of Divine Freedom.Yishai Cohen - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (3):185-205.
    Contrary to the commonly held position of Luis de Molina, Thomas Flint and others, I argue that counterfactuals of divine freedom are pre-volitional for God within the Molinist framework. That is, CDFs are not true even partly in virtue of some act of God’s will. As a result, I argue that the Molinist God fails to satisfy an epistemic openness requirement for rational deliberation, and thus she cannot rationally deliberate about which world to actualize.
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  15.  42
    Actualism and Possibilism.Travis Timmerman & Yishai Cohen - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 72:107-108.
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  16. Don’T Count on Taurek: Vindicating the Case for the Numbers Counting.Yishai Cohen - 2014 - Res Publica 20 (3):245-261.
    Suppose you can save only one of two groups of people from harm, with one person in one group, and five persons in the other group. Are you obligated to save the greater number? While common sense seems to say ‘yes’, the numbers skeptic says ‘no’. Numbers Skepticism has been partly motivated by the anti-consequentialist thought that the goods, harms and well-being of individual people do not aggregate in any morally significant way. However, even many non-consequentialists think that Numbers Skepticism (...)
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  17.  29
    Emotions in the Moral Life, by Robert C. Roberts.Yishai Cohen - 2014 - Faith and Philosophy 31 (3):337-340.
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