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  1. Free Will and Abilities to Act.Randolph Clarke - forthcoming - In Streit um die Freiheit: Philosophische und theologische Beiträge. Paderborn: Schoeningh/Brill.
    This paper examines the view of abilities to act advanced by Kadri Vihvelin in Causes, Laws, and Free Will. Vihvelin argues that (i) abilities of an important kind are “structurally” like dispositions such as fragility; (ii) ascriptions of dispositions can be analyzed in terms of counterfactual conditionals; (iii) ascriptions of abilities of the kind in question can be analyzed similarly; and (iv) we have the free will we think we have by having abilities of this kind and being in circumstances (...)
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  2. How (Not) to Think About the Sense of 'Able' Relevant to Free Will.Simon Kittle - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    This essay is an investigation into the sense of ‘able’ relevant to free will, where free will is understood as requiring the ability to do otherwise. I argue that van Inwagen’s recent functional specification of the relevant sense of ‘able’ is flawed, and that explicating the powers involved in free will shall likely require paying detailed attention to the semantics and pragmatics of ‘can’ and ‘able’. Further, I argue that van Inwagen’s promise-level ability requirement on free will is too strong. (...)
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  3. Are Abilities Dispositions?Barbara Vetter - forthcoming - Synthese 196 (1).
    Abilities are in many ways central to what being an agent means, and they are appealed to in philosophical accounts of a great many different phenomena. It is often assumed that abilities are some kind of dispositional property, but it is rarely made explicit exactly which dispositional properties are our abilities. Two recent debates provide two different answers to that question: the new dispositionalism in the debate about free will, and virtue reliabilism in epistemology. This paper argues that both answers (...)
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  4. Seumas Miller on Knowing-How and Joint Abilities.Yuri Cath - 2020 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 9:14-21.
    A critical discussion of Seumas Miller's view on knowing-how and joint abilities.
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  5. Children’s Capacities and Paternalism.Samantha Godwin - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (3):307-331.
    Paternalism is widely viewed as presumptively justifiable for children but morally problematic for adults. The standard explanation for this distinction is that children lack capacities relevant to the justifiability of paternalism. I argue that this explanation is more difficult to defend than typically assumed. If paternalism is often justified when needed to keep children safe from the negative consequences of their poor choices, then when adults make choices leading to the same negative consequences, what makes paternalism less justified? It seems (...)
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  6. 'Ought Implies Can' and the Possibility of Group Obligations.Isaac Hadfield - 2020 - British Undergraduate Philosophy Review 1 (1):40-49.
    Positing group level obligations has come under attack from concerns relating to agency as a necessary requirement for obligation bearing. Roughly stated, the worry is that since only agents can have moral obligations, and groups are not agents, groups cannot have moral obligations. The intuition behind this constraint is itself based on the ability requirement of 'ought implies can': in order for a group to have an obligation it must have the ability to perform an action, but only agents can (...)
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  7. Unable to Do the Impossible.Anthony Nguyen - 2020 - Mind 129 (514):585-602.
    Jack Spencer has recently argued for the striking thesis that, possibly, an agent is able to do the impossible—that is, perform an action that is metaphysically impossible for that person to perform. Spencer bases his argument on (Simple G), a case in which it is impossible for an agent G to perform some action but, according to Spencer, G is still intuitively able to perform that action. I reply that we would have to give up at least four action-theoretical principles (...)
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  8. Exercising Abilities.J. Adam Carter - 2019 - Synthese (3):1-15.
    According to one prominent view of exercising abilities (e.g., Millar 2009), a subject, S, counts as exercising an ability to ϕ if and only if S successfully ϕs. Such an ‘exercise-success’ thesis looks initially very plausible for abilities, perhaps even obviously or analytically true. In this paper, however, I will be defending the position that one can in fact exercise an ability to do one thing by doing some entirely distinct thing, and in doing so I’ll highlight various reasons (epistemological, (...)
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  9. 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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  10. Does Everyone Think the Ability to Do Otherwise is Necessary for Free Will and Moral Responsibility?Simon Kittle - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (4):1177-1183.
    Christopher Franklin argues that, despite appearances, everyone thinks that the ability to do otherwise is required for free will and moral responsibility. Moreover, he says that the way to decide which ability to do otherwise is required will involve settling the nature of moral responsibility. In this paper I highlight one point on which those usually called leeway theorists - i.e. those who accept the need for alternatives - agree, in contradistinction to those who deny that the ability to do (...)
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  11. ›Wissen, dass‹ und ›Wissen, wie‹.David Löwenstein - 2019 - In Martin Grajner & Guido Melchior (eds.), Handbuch Erkenntnistheorie. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler. pp. 116-121.
    This is an introduction to the debate about Know-how.
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  12. Basic Action and Practical Knowledge.Will Small - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    It is a commonplace in philosophy of action that there is and must be teleologically basic action: something done on an occasion without doing it by means of doing anything else. It is widely believed that basic actions are exercises of skill. As the source of the need for basic action is the structure of practical reasoning, this yields a conception of skill and practical reasoning as complementary but mutually exclusive. On this view, practical reasoning and complex intentional action depend (...)
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  13. 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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  14. Précis Zu Know-How as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Löwenstein - 2018 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 72 (1):95-99.
    This is a précis of my book "Know-how as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account".
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  15. Regresse Und Routinen. Repliken Auf Brandt Und Jung.David Löwenstein - 2018 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 72 (1):110-113.
    This paper responds to comments and criticisms by Stefan Brandt and Eva-Maria Jung, directed at the book "Know-how as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account".
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  16. Thrasymachus’ Unerring Skill and the Arguments of Republic 1.Tamer Nawar - 2018 - Phronesis 63 (4):359-391.
    In defending the view that justice is the advantage of the stronger, Thrasymachus puzzlingly claims that rulers never err and that any practitioner of a skill or expertise (τέχνη) is infallible. In what follows, Socrates offers a number of arguments directed against Thrasymachus’ views concerning the nature of skill, ruling, and justice. Commentators typically take a dim view of both Thrasymachus’ claims about skill (which are dismissed as an ungrounded and purely ad hoc response to Socrates’ initial criticisms) and Socrates’ (...)
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  17. Semicompatibilism: No Ability to Do Otherwise Required.Taylor W. Cyr - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (3):308-321.
    In this paper, I argue that it is open to semicompatibilists to maintain that no ability to do otherwise is required for moral responsibility. This is significant for two reasons. First, it undermines Christopher Evan Franklin’s recent claim that everyone thinks that an ability to do otherwise is necessary for free will and moral responsibility. Second, it reveals an important difference between John Martin Fischer’s semicompatibilism and Kadri Vihvelin’s version of classical compatibilism, which shows that the dispute between them is (...)
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  18. Is Semicompatibilism Unstable?Taylor W. Cyr - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (45):245-264.
    Recently, John Maier has developed a unified account of various agentive modalities. According to him, however, adopting the account provides an alternative framework for thinking about free will and moral responsibility, one that reveals an unacceptable instability in semicompatibilism. In this paper, I argue that Maier is mistaken about the implications of his account and sketch a semicompatibilist proposal that can, without countenancing any instability, accept Maier’s unified account of the agentive modalities.
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  19. Descartes and the Possibility of Enlightened Freedom.Daniel Fogal - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (4):499-534.
    This paper offers a novel interpretation of Descartes's conception of freedom that resolves an important tension at the heart of his view. It does so by appealing to the important but overlooked distinction between possessing a power, exercising a power, and being in a position to exercise a power.
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  20. Know-How as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Löwenstein - 2017 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.
    What does it mean to know how to do something? This book develops a comprehensive account of know-how, a crucial epistemic goal for all who care about getting things right, not only with respect to the facts, but also with respect to practice. It proposes a novel interpretation of the seminal work of Gilbert Ryle, according to which know-how is a competence, a complex ability to do well in an activity in virtue of guidance by an understanding of what it (...)
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  21. Dispositional Accounts of Abilities.Barbara Vetter & Romy Jaster - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (8):e12432.
    This paper explores the prospects for dispositional accounts of abilities. According to so-called new dispositionalists, an agent has the ability to Φ iff they have a disposition to Φ when trying to Φ. We show that the new dispositionalism is beset by some problems that also beset its predecessor, the conditional analysis of abilities, and bring up some further problems. We then turn to a different approach, which links abilities not to motivational states but to the notion of success, and (...)
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  22. Ability and Volitional Incapacity.Nicholas Southwood & Pablo Gilabert - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (3):1-8.
    The conditional analysis of ability faces familiar counterexamples involving cases of volitional incapacity. An interesting response to the problem of volitional incapacity is to try to explain away the responses elicited by such counterexamples by distinguishing between what we are able to do and what we are able to bring ourselves to do. We argue that this error-theoretic response fails. Either it succeeds in solving the problem of volitional incapacity at the cost of making the conditional analysis vulnerable to obvious (...)
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  23. Free Will and the Ability to Do Otherwise.Simon Kittle - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Sheffield
    This thesis is an investigation into the nature of those abilities that are relevant to free will when the latter is understood as requiring the ability to do otherwise. I assume from the outset the traditional and intuitive picture that being able to do otherwise bestows a significant kind of control on an agent and I ask what kinds of ability are implicated in such control. In chapter 1 I assess the simple conditional analysis of the sense of ‘can’ relevant (...)
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  24. Abilities to Do Otherwise.Simon Kittle - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3017-3035.
    In this paper I argue that there are different ways that an agent may be able to do otherwise and that therefore, when free will is understood as requiring that an agent be able to do otherwise, we face the following question: which way of being able to do otherwise is most relevant to free will? I answer this question by first discussing the nature of intrinsic dispositions and abilities, arguing that for each action type there is a spectrum of (...)
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  25. Spatial Content and Motoric Significance.Robert Briscoe - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies (2):199-216.
    According to “actionism” (Noë 2010), perception constitutively depends on implicit knowledge of the way sensory stimulations vary as a consequence of the perceiver’s self-movement. My aim in this contribution is to develop an alternative conception of the role of action in perception present in the work of Gareth Evans using resources provided by Ruth Millikan’s biosemantic theory of mental representation.
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  26. Legal Agreements and the Capacities of Agents.Andrei Buckareff - 2014 - In Law and the Philosophy of Action. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. pp. 195-219.
    Most work at the intersection of law and the philosophy of action focuses on criminal responsibility. Unfortunately, this focus has been at the expense of reflecting on how the philosophy of action might help illuminate our understanding of issues in civil law. In this essay, focusing on Anglo-American jurisprudence, we examine the conditions under which a party to a legal agreement is deemed to have the capacity required to be bound by that agreement. We refer to this condition as the (...)
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  27. It's Not Too Difficult: A Plea to Resurrect the Impossibility Defense.Ken Levy - 2014 - New Mexico Law Revview 45:225-274.
    Suppose you are at the gym trying to see some naked beauties by peeping through a hole in the wall. A policeman happens by, he asks you what you are doing, and you honestly tell him. He then arrests you for voyeurism. Are you guilty? We don’t know yet because there is one more fact to be considered: while you honestly thought that a locker room was on the other side of the wall, it was actually a squash court. Are (...)
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  28. Free Will, Determinism, and the Possibility of Doing Otherwise.Christian List - 2014 - Noûs 48 (1):156-178.
    I argue that free will and determinism are compatible, even when we take free will to require the ability to do otherwise and even when we interpret that ability modally, as the possibility of doing otherwise, and not just conditionally or dispositionally. My argument draws on a distinction between physical and agential possibility. Although in a deterministic world only one future sequence of events is physically possible for each state of the world, the more coarsely defined state of an agent (...)
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  29. What Time Travelers May Be Able to Do.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (1):115 - 121.
    Kadri Vihvelin, in "What time travelers cannot do" (Philos Stud 81: 315-330, 1996), argued that "no time traveler can kill the baby who in fact is her younger self, because (V1) "if someone would fail to do something, no matter how hard or how many times she tried, then she cannot do it", and (V2) if a time traveler tried to kill her baby self, she would always fail. Theodore Sider (Philos Stud 110: 115-138, 2002) criticized Vihvelin's argument, and Ira (...)
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  30. Carl Ginet, On Action. [REVIEW]Karl Pfeifer - 1992 - Philosophy in Review 12:196-199.
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  31. On Schellenberg’s The Unity of Perception.Ayoob Shahmoradi - manuscript
    My general worry is that Schellenberg’s arguments against naive realism, generalism, and Russellian representationalism do not seem to be successful. Thus her attempt at ruling these views out fails. Her main arguments rely on a shared premise whose plausibility, in the absence of an appropriate theory of particulars, is hard to assess (§2.1). Apart from that, these arguments rely on an under-specified notion of constitution; there seems to be no sense of the term that makes all the premises of her (...)
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