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  1. Frankfurt Cases and 'Could Have Done Otherwise'.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    In his seminal essay, Harry Frankfurt argued that our exercise of free will and allocation of moral responsibility do not depend on us being able to do other than we did. Leslie Allan defends this moral maxim from Frankfurt's attack. Applying his character-based counterfactual conditional analysis of free acts to Frankfurt's counterexamples, Allan unpacks the confusions that lie at the heart of Frankfurt's argument. The author also explores how his 4C compatibilist theory measures up against Frankfurt’s conclusions.
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  2. A Counterexample to Huemer's ’No Matter What’ Interpretation of the Consequence Argument. Mansooreh - manuscript
    The consequence argument is a salient argument in favor of incompatibilism which is the thesis that if determinism is true, then it is not the case that we have free will. In a nutshell, the consequence argument has it that if determinism is true, then our acts are determined by the laws of nature and events of the past. But we are neither able to change the past nor the laws of nature. Therefore, we are not able to change the (...)
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  3. Free Will and the Cross-Level Consequence Argument.Jonathan Birch - 2020
    Christian List has recently constructed a novel formal framework for representing the relationship between free will and determinism. At its core is a distinction between physical and agential levels of description. List has argued that, since the consequence argument cannot be reconstructed within this framework, the consequence argument rests on a ‘category mistake’: an illicit conflation of the physical and agential levels. I show that an expanded version of List’s framework allows the construction of a cross-level consequence argument.
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  4. A problem not peculiar to counterfactual sufficiency.Chaoan He - forthcoming - Analysis.
    The Consequence Argument for incompatibilism is beset by two rival interpretations: the counterfactual sufficiency interpretation and the counterfactual might interpretation. Waldrop recently argued that the counterfactual sufficiency interpretation conflicts with certain principles governing the logic of counterfactuals. In this paper, I show that Waldrop’s argument can be adapted to prove that the counterfactual might interpretation also conflicts with the same principles. So the problem Waldrop pointed out is not peculiar to the counterfactual sufficiency interpretation.
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  5. Doing Otherwise in a Deterministic World.Christian Loew - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    An influential version of the Consequence argument, the most famous argument for the incompatibility of free will and determinism, goes as follows: For an agent to be able to do otherwise, there has to be a possible world with the same laws and the same past as her actual world in which she does otherwise. However, if the actual world is deterministic, there is no such world. Hence, no agent in a deterministic world can ever do otherwise. In this paper, (...)
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  6. Dennett’s Prime-Mammal Objection to the Consequence Argument.Johan E. Gustafsson - 2023 - Theoria 89 (4):467-470.
    The Consequence Argument is the classic argument for the incompatibility of determinism and our ability to do otherwise. Daniel C. Dennett objects that the Consequence Argument suffers from the same error as a clearly unconvincing argument that there are no mammals. In this paper, I argue that these arguments do not suffer from the same error. The argument that there are no mammals is unconvincing as it takes the form of a sorites, whereas the Consequence Argument does not. Accordingly, Dennett's (...)
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  7. A problem for counterfactual sufficiency.John William Waldrop - 2023 - Analysis 83 (3):527-535.
    The consequence argument purports to show that determinism is true only if no one has free will. Judgments about whether the argument is sound depend on how one understands locutions of the form 'p and no one can render p false'. The main interpretation on offer appeals to counterfactual sufficiency: s can render p false just in case there is something s can do such that, were s to do it, p would be false; otherwise, s cannot render p false. (...)
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  8. Causal counterfactuals without miracles or backtracking.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 107 (2):439-469.
    If the laws are deterministic, then standard theories of counterfactuals are forced to reject at least one of the following conditionals: 1) had you chosen differently, there would not have been a violation of the laws of nature; and 2) had you chosen differently, the initial conditions of the universe would not have been different. On the relevant readings—where we hold fixed factors causally independent of your choice—both of these conditionals appear true. And rejecting either one leads to trouble for (...)
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  9. The Problem of Radical Freedom.Andreas Hüttemann - 2022 - In Anna Marmodoro, Christopher Austin & Andrea Roselli (eds.), Powers, Time and Free Will. Springer. pp. 185-198.
    Whether or not we are able to do x is on many philosophical accounts of our moral practice relevant for whether we are responsible for not doing x or for being excusable for not having done x. In this paper I will examine how such accounts are affected by whether a Humean or non-Humean account of laws is presupposed. More particularly, I will argue that (on one interpretation) Humean conceptions of laws, while able to avoid the consequence argument, run into (...)
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  10. Are we free to make the laws?Christian Loew & Andreas Hüttemann - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-16.
    Humeans about laws maintain that laws of nature are nothing over and above the complete distribution of non-modal, categorical properties in spacetime. ‘Humean compatibilists’ argue that if Humeanism about laws is true, then agents in a deterministic world can do otherwise than they are lawfully determined to do because of the distinctive nature of Humean laws. More specifically, they reject a central premise of the Consequence argument by maintaining that deterministic laws of nature are ‘up to us’. In this paper, (...)
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  11. Revisiting McKay and Johnson's counterexample to ( β).Pedro Merlussi - 2022 - Philosophical Explorations 25 (2):189-203.
    In debates concerning the consequence argument, it has long been claimed that [McKay, T. J., and D. Johnson. 1996. “A Reconsideration of an Argument Against Compatibilism.” Philosophical Topics 24 (2): 113–122] demonstrated the invalidity of rule (β). Here, I argue that their result is not as robust as we might like to think. First, I argue that McKay and Johnson's counterexample is successful if one adopts a certain interpretation of ‘no choice about’ and if one is willing to deny the (...)
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  12. Naming and Free Will.Pedro Merlussi & Fabio Lampert - 2022 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 99 (4):475-484.
    Rigidity does interesting philosophical work, with important consequences felt throughout metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and so on. The authors’ aim in this article is to show that rigidity has yet another role to play, with surprising consequences for the problem of free will and determinism, for the phenomenon of rigidity has the upshot that some metaphysically necessary truths are up to us. The significance of this claim is shown in the context of influential arguments against free will. The authors (...)
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  13. How (not) to construct worlds with responsibility.Fabio Lampert & Pedro Merlussi - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10389-10413.
    In a recent article, P. Roger Turner and Justin Capes argue that no one is, or ever was, even partly morally responsible for certain world-indexed truths. Here we present our reasons for thinking that their argument is unsound: It depends on the premise that possible worlds are maximally consistent states of affairs, which is, under plausible assumptions concerning states of affairs, demonstrably false. Our argument to show this is based on Bertrand Russell’s original ‘paradox of propositions’. We should then opt (...)
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  14. Counterfactuals, counteractuals, and free choice.Fabio Lampert & Pedro Merlussi - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):445-469.
    In a recent paper, Pruss proves the validity of the rule beta-2 relative to Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals, which is a significant step forward in the debate about the consequence argument. Yet, we believe there remain intuitive counter-examples to beta-2 formulated with the actuality operator and rigidified descriptions. We offer a novel and two-dimensional formulation of the Lewisian semantics for counterfactuals and prove the validity of a new transfer rule according to which a new version of the consequence argument can (...)
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  15. (β) não dá Base ao Incompatibilismo entre Determinismo e Livre-Arbítrio.Domingos Faria - 2019 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 75 (3):1951-1976.
    Our aim in this paper is to critically assess Peter van Inwagen’s consequence argument for the incompatibility of free will and determinism. This argument is sound only if rule is valid. We present reasons to reject or to be skeptical of the rule and similar rules. So, the consequence argument is not a sound argument for the incompatibility of free will and determinism.
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  16. Freier Wille und Naturgesetze: Überlegungen zum Konsequenzargument.Andreas Hüttemann & Christian Loew - 2019 - In Martin Breul, Aaron Langenfeld, Saskia Wendel & Klaus von Stoch (eds.), Streit um die Freiheit – Philosophische und Theologische Perspektiven. Paderborn: Schöningh. pp. 77-93.
    In this paper, we argue that the Consequence Argument relies on empirical premises. In particular, we show how the argument depends upon assumptions about the character of the laws of nature.
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  17. Traditional Compatibilism Reformulated and Defended.Markus E. Schlosser - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Research 42:277-300.
    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 (...)
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  18. Manipulation Arguments and the Freedom to do Otherwise.Patrick Todd - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):395-407.
    I provide a manipulation-style argument against classical compatibilism—the claim that freedom to do otherwise is consistent with determinism. My question is simple: if Diana really gave Ernie free will, why isn't she worried that he won't use it precisely as she would like? Diana's non-nervousness, I argue, indicates Ernie's non-freedom. Arguably, the intuition that Ernie lacks freedom to do otherwise is stronger than the direct intuition that he is simply not responsible; this result highlights the importance of the denial of (...)
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  19. Incompatibilism and the Fixity of the Past.Neal A. Tognazzini & John Martin Fischer - 2017 - In John Keller (ed.), Being, Freedom, and Method: Themes From the Philosophy of Peter van Inwagen. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 140-148.
    A style of argument that calls into question our freedom (in the sense that involves freedom to do otherwise) has been around for millennia; it can be traced back to Origen. The argument-form makes use of the crucial idea that the past is over-and-done-with and thus fixed; we cannot now do anything about the distant past (or, for that matter, the recent past)—it is now too late. Peter van Inwagen has presented this argument (what he calls the Consequence Argument) in (...)
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  20. Against Counterfactual Miracles.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (2):241-286.
    This paper considers how counterfactuals should be evaluated on the assumption that determinism is true. I argue against Lewis's influential view that the actual laws of nature would have been false if something had happened that never actually happened, and in favour of the competing view that history would have been different all the way back. I argue that we can do adequate justice to our ordinary practice of relying on a wide range of historical truths in evaluating counterfactuals by (...)
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  21. The Manipulation Argument.Kristin Mickelson - 2016 - In Chapter 14, the Routledge Companion to Free Will (editors: Meghan Griffith , Kevin Timpe & Neil Levy). New York: Routledge.
    "The Manipulation Argument has recently taken center stage in the free-will debate, yet little else can be said of this newcomer that is uncontroversial. At present, even the most fundamental elements of the Manipulation Argument--its structure, conclusion, and target audience--are a matter of dispute. As such, we cannot begin, as we ideally would, with a simple and relatively uncontroversial overview of the argument. Instead, clarifying the debate over the basic structure and general conclusion of the Manipulation Argument will be our (...)
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  22. Molinists (still) 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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  23. 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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  24. Does the Consequence Argument Beg the Question?John Martin Fischer & Garrett Pendergraft - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (3):575-595.
    The Consequence Argument has elicited various responses, ranging from acceptance as obviously right to rejection as obviously problematic in one way or another. Here we wish to focus on one specific response, according to which the Consequence Argument begs the question. This is a serious accusation that has not yet been adequately rebutted, and we aim to remedy that in what follows. We begin by giving a formulation of the Consequence Argument. We also offer some tentative proposals about the nature (...)
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  25. ‘Can’ and the Consequence Argument.Alex Grzankowski - 2013 - Ratio 27 (2):173-189.
    The consequence argument is a powerful incompatibilist argument for the conclusion that, if determinism is true, what one does is what one must do. A major point of controversy between classical compatibilists and incompatibilists has been over the use of ‘can’ in the consequence argument. Classical compatibilists, holding that abilities to act are dispositions, have argued that ‘can’ should be analyzed as a conditional. But such an analysis of ‘can’ puts compatibilists in a position to grant the premises of the (...)
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  26. Das Konsequenzargument.Christoph Jäger - 2013 - In Rolf W. Puster (ed.), Klassische Argumentationen der Philosophie. pp. 275-296.
    The paper reconstructs causal and theological versions of the consequence argument against the compatibility of free will and determinism and discusses the most influential objections to them.
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  27. Lehrer and the consequence argument.Danilo Šuster - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (1):77-86.
    The consequence argument of van Inwagen is widely regarded as the best argument for incompatibilism. Lewis’s response is praised by van Inwagen as the best compatibilist’s strategy but Lewis himself acknowledges that his strategy resembles that of Lehrer. A comparison will show that one can speak about Lehrer-Lewis strategy, although I think that Lewis’s variation is dialectically slightly stronger. The paper provides a response to some standard objections of incompatibilists to the Lehrer-Lewis reply.
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  28. The Explanatory Power of Local Miracle Compatibilism.Garrett Pendergraft - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):249-266.
    Local miracle compatibilists claim that we are sometimes able to do otherwise than we actually do, even if causal determinism obtains. When we can do otherwise, it will often be true that if we were to do otherwise, then an actual law of nature would not have been a law of nature. Nevertheless, it is a compatibilist principle that we cannot do anything that would be or cause an event that violates the laws of nature. Carl Ginet challenges this nomological (...)
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  29. Willensfreiheit: Antworten auf Walde, Willaschek und Jäger.Geert Keil - 2009 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 57 (5):781-195.
    The article is a reply to three reviews of my book Willensfreiheit (Berlin/New York 2007) which were published in a previous issue of this journal. In the book, I develop a libertarian account of free will that invokes neither uncaused events nor mind-body dualism nor agent causality. Against Bettina Walde’s criticism, I argue that a well-balanced libertarianism can evade the luck objection and that it should not be portrayed as positing tiny causal gaps in an otherwise deterministic world. Against Marcus (...)
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  30. Reply to Huemer on the consequence argument.Helen Beebee - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (2):235-241.
    In a recent paper, Michael Huemer provides a new interpretation for ‘N’, the operator that occurs in Peter van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument, and argues that, given that interpretation, the Consequence Argument is sound. I have no quarrel with Huemer’s claim that the Consequence Argument is valid. I shall argue instead that his defense of its premises—a defense that allegedly involves refuting David Lewis’s response to van Inwagen—is unsuccessful.
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  31. Der metaphysische Begriff der Willensfreiheit und das Transferprinzip des Keine-Wahl-Habens.Godehard Brüntrup - 2000 - In Dirk Greiman & Constanze Peres (eds.), Wahrheit - Sein - Struktur. Auseinandersetzungen mit Metaphysik. Georg Olms. pp. 102-120.
    Article on the problem of free will and determinism. A defense of the so-called "consequence argument" arguing that free will and determinism are incompatible.
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  32. Freedom and Experience: Self-Determination Without Illusions.Magill Kevin - 1997 - London: author open access, originally MacMillan.
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  33. The Metasphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control.John Martin Fischer - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
    The Metaphysics of Free Will provides a through statement of the major grounds for skepticism about the reality of free will and moral responsibility. The author identifies and explains the sort of control that is associated with personhood and accountability, and shows how it is consistent with causal determinism. In so doing, out view of ourselves as morally responsible agents is protected against the disturbing changes posed by science and religion.
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  34. Are we free to break the laws?David Lewis - 1981 - Theoria 47 (3):113-21.
    I insist that I was able to raise my hand, and I acknowledge that a law would have been broken had I done so, but I deny that I am therefore able to break a law. To uphold my instance of soft determinism, I need not claim any incredible powers. To uphold the compatibilism that I actually believe, I need not claim that such powers are even possible. My incompatibilist opponent is a creature of fiction, but he has his prototypes (...)
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  35. Truthmakers and the Consequence Argument.Charles Hermes - manuscript
    Recent work in the truthmakers literature demonstrates that the logic of truthmaking is distinct from classical logic. Since free will is an ontological issue, and not merely a semantic issue, arguments about free will ought to be sensitive to these developments. In Truthmakers and the Direct Argument, Hermes argues that one of the main arguments for incompatibiilsm fails precisely where the truthmakers literature would predict. Here, I argue that similar problems make the Consequence Argument untenable.
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  36. Student.Krishna Mantirraju - manuscript
    Freedom is an impossibility; the dream of having the ability to choose anything one wants is hampered by reality. However, what aspect of reality ultimately hampers the birth of true freedom? What I propose is that reality itself makes freedom impossible. Furthermore, I also make the logical assumption, from the evidence I have found, that the only entity that can have freedom is a being that is formless, timeless, featureless, and is an infinite environment of nothing. While my studies today (...)
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  37. The State of the Free Will Debate: From Frankfurt Cases to the Consequence Argument.Eddy Nahmias - manuscript
    In this paper I tie together the reasoning used in the Consequence Argument with the intuitions that drive Frankfurt cases in a way that illuminates some of the underlying differences between compatibilists and incompatibilists. I begin by explaining the ‘basic mechanism’ at work in Frankfurt cases: the existence of sufficient conditions for an outcome that do not actually bring about that outcome. I suggest that other potential threats to free will, such as God’s foreknowledge, can be understood in terms of (...)
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