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  1. Robustness and Up-to-Us-Ness.Simon Kittle - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (44):35-57.
    Frankfurt-style cases purport to show that an agent can be morally responsible for an action despite not having any alternatives. Some critics have responded by highlighting various alternatives that remain in the cases presented, while Frankfurtians have objected that such alternatives are typically not capable of grounding responsibility. In this essay I address the recent suggestion by Seth Shabo that only alternatives associated with the ‘up to us’ locution ground moral responsibility. I distinguish a number of kinds of ability, suggest (...)
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  • What Time Travelers Cannot Not Do (but Are Responsible for Anyway).Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):149-162.
    The Principle of Alternative Possibilities is the intuitive idea that someone is morally responsible for an action only if she could have done otherwise. Harry Frankfurt has famously presented putative counterexamples to this intuitive principle. In this paper, I formulate a simple version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a course-grained notion of actions. After warming up with a Frankfurt-Style Counterexample to this principle, I introduce a new kind of counterexample based on the possibility of time travel. At (...)
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  • The Metaphysical Presuppositions of Moral Responsibility.Helen Steward - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (2):241-271.
    The paper attempts to explicate and justify the position I call `Agency Incompatibilism'- that is to say, the view that agency itself is incompatible with determinism. The most important part of this task is the characterisation of the conception of agency on which the position depends; for unless this is understood, the rationale for the position is likely to be missed. The paper accordingly proceeds by setting out the orthodox philosophical position concerning what it takes for agency to exist, before (...)
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  • 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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  • Frankfurt Versus Frankfurt: A New Anti-Causalist Dawn.Ezio Di Nucci - 2011 - Philosophical Explorations 14 (1):117-131.
    In this paper I argue that there is an important anomaly to the causalist/compatibilist paradigm in the philosophy of action and free will. This anomaly, which to my knowledge has gone unnoticed so far, can be found in the philosophy of Harry Frankfurt. Two of his most important contributions to the field – his influential counterexample to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities and his ‘guidance’ view of action – are incompatible. The importance of this inconsistency goes far beyond the issue (...)
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  • Frankfurt Counterexample Defended.E. Di Nucci - 2011 - Analysis 71 (1):102-104.
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  • Psychopathology and the Ability to Do Otherwise.Hanna Pickard - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1):135-163.
    When philosophers want an example of a person who lacks the ability to do otherwise, they turn to psychopathology. Addicts, agoraphobics, kleptomaniacs, neurotics, obsessives, and even psychopathic serial murderers, are all purportedly subject to irresistible desires that compel the person to act: no alternative possibility is supposed to exist. I argue that this conception of psychopathology is false and offer an empirically and clinically informed understanding of disorders of agency which preserves the ability to do otherwise. First, I appeal to (...)
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  • Frankfurt-Style Counterexamples and the Importance of Alternative Possibilities.Nadine Elzein - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (2):169-191.
    Proponents of modern Frankfurt-Style Counterexamples generally accept that we cannot construct successful FSCs in which there are no alternative possibilities present. But they maintain that we can construct successful FSCs in which there are no morally significant alternatives present and that such examples succeed in breaking any conceptual link between alternative possibilities and free will. I argue that it is not possible to construct an FSC that succeeds even in this weaker sense. In cases where any alternatives are clearly insignificant, (...)
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  • VI—Agency and Two‐Way Powers.Maria Alvarez - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (1pt1):101-121.
    In this paper I propose a way of characterizing human agency in terms of the concept of a two‐way power. I outline this conception of agency, defend it against some objections, and briefly indicate how it relates to free agency and to moral praise‐ and blameworthiness.
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  • It Wasn’T Up to Jones: Unavoidable Actions and Intensional Contexts in Frankfurt Examples.Seth Shabo - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (3):379-399.
    In saying that it was up to someone whether or not she acted as she did, we are attributing a distinctive sort of power to her. Understanding such power attributions is of broad importance for contemporary discussions of free will. Yet the ‘is up to…whether’ locution and its cognates have largely escaped close examination. This article aims to elucidate one of its unnoticed features, namely that such power attributions introduce intensional contexts, something that is easily overlooked because the sentences that (...)
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  • 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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  • Free Will and Probability.Danny Frederick - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):60-77.
    The chance objection to incompatibilist accounts of free action maintains that undetermined actions are not under the agent's control. Some attempts to circumvent this objection locate chance in events posterior to the action. Indeterministic-causation theories locate chance in events prior to the action. However, neither type of response gives an account of free action which avoids the chance objection. Chance must be located at the act of will if actions are to be both undetermined and under the agent's control. This (...)
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  • Agency Without Avoidability: Defusing a New Threat to Frankfurt's Counterexample Strategy.Seth Shabo - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (4):505-522.
    In this paper, I examine a new line of response to Frankfurt’s challenge to the traditional association of moral responsibility with the ability to do otherwise. According to this response, Frankfurt’s counterexample strategy fails, not in light of the conditions for moral responsibility per se, but in view of the conditions for action. Specifically, it is claimed, a piece of behavior counts as an action only if it is within the agent’s power to avoid performing it. In so far as (...)
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  • Acting Intentionally and Acting for a Reason.Maria Alvarez - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):293-305.
    This paper explores the question whether whatever is done intentionally is done for a reason. Apart from helping us to think about those concepts, the question is interesting because it affords an opportunity to identify a number of misconceptions about reasons. In the paper I argue that there are things that are done intentionally but not done for a reason. I examine two different kinds of example: things done “because one wants to” and “purely expressive actions”. Concerning the first, I (...)
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  • Editorial.[author unknown] - forthcoming - Editorial 9 (44):1-4.
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  • Is “Aid in Dying” Suicide?Philip Reed - 2019 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 40 (2):123-139.
    The practice whereby terminally ill patients choose to end their own lives painlessly by ingesting a drug prescribed by a physician has commonly been referred to as physician-assisted suicide. There is, however, a strong trend forming that seeks to deny that this act should properly be termed suicide. The purpose of this paper is to examine and reject the view that the term suicide should be abandoned in reference to what has been called physician-assisted suicide. I argue that there are (...)
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  • Critique of an Argument for the Reality of Purpose.Danny Frederick - 2012 - Prolegomena 11 (1):25-34.
    Schueler has argued, against the eliminativist, that human purposive action cannot be an illusion because the concept of purpose is not theoretical. He argues that the concept is known directly to be instantiated, through self-awareness; and that to maintain that the concept is theoretical involves an infinite regress. I show that Schueler’s argument fails because all our concepts are theoretical in the sense that we may be mistaken in applying them to our experience. As a consequence, it is conceivable that (...)
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  • Rescuing PAP From Widerker's Brain-Malfunction Case.Greg Janzen - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (2):1-22.
    According to the principle of alternate possibilities (PAP), a person is morally responsible for what she has done only if she could have done otherwise. David Widerker, a prominent and long-time defender of this principle against Harry Frankfurt’s famous attack on it, has recently had an unexpected about-face: PAP, Widerker now contends, is (probably) false. His rejection of PAP is a result, in large part, of his coming to believe that there are conceptually possible scenarios, what he calls ‘IRR-situations,’ in (...)
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  • The Duty to Join Forces: When Individuals Lack Control.Frank Hindriks - 2019 - The Monist 102 (2):204-220.
    Some harms are such that they cannot be prevented by a single individual because she lacks the requisite control. Because of this, no individual has the obligation to do so. It may be, however, that the harm can be prevented when several individuals combine their efforts. I argue that in many such situations each individual has a duty to join forces: to approach others, convince them to contribute, and subsequently make a coordinated effort to prevent the harm. A distinctive feature (...)
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  • Robustness Revised: Frankfurt Cases and the Right Kind of Power to Do Otherwise.Seth Shabo - 2016 - Acta Analytica 31 (1):89-106.
    Frankfurt’s famous counterexample strategy challenges the traditional association between moral responsibility and alternative possibilities. While this strategy remains controversial, it is now widely agreed that an adequate response to it must preserve an agent’s ability to do otherwise, and not the mere possibility, for only then is her alternative possibility sufficiently robust to ground her responsibility. Here, I defend a more stringent requirement for robustness. To have a robust alternative, I argue, the agent must have the right kind of ability, (...)
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  • Avoiding and Alternate Possibilities.Ezio Di Nucci - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):1001-1007.
    Greg Janzen has recently criticised my defence of Frankfurt’s counterexample to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities by arguing that Jones avoids killing Smith in the counterfactual scenario. Janzen’s argument consists in introducing a new thought-experiment which is supposed to be analogous to Frankfurt’s and where the agent is supposed to avoid A-ing. Here I argue that Janzen’s argument fails on two counts, because his new scenario is not analogous to Frankfurt’s and because the agent in his new scenario does not (...)
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  • A Dilemma for Morally Responsible Time Travelers.Kelly McCormick - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (2):379-389.
    In this paper I argue that new attempts to undermine the principle of alternative possibilities via appeal to time travel fail. My argument targets a version of a Frankfurt-style counterexample to the principle recently developed by Spencer. I argue that in avoiding one prominent objection to standard Frankfurt-style counterexamples Spencer’s time travel case runs afoul of another. Furthermore, the very feature of the case which makes it initially appealing also makes it impossible to revise the case such that it can (...)
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  • Frankfurt Examples, Derivative Responsibility, and the Timing Objection1.Derk Pereboom - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):298-315.
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  • A Frankfurt Example to End All Frankfurt Examples.James Cain - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (1):83-93.
    Frankfurt examples are frequently used in arguments designed to show that agents lacking alternatives, or lacking ‘regulative control’ over their actions, can be morally responsible for what they do. I will maintain that Frankfurt examples can be constructed that undermine those very arguments when applied to actions for which the agent bears fundamental responsibility.
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  • Frankfurt Cases, Alternate Possibilities, and Prior Signs.Greg Janzen - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (5):1037-1049.
    In his seminal paper ‘Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility’, Harry Frankfurt argues against the principle of alternate possibilities (PAP)—the principle that persons are morally responsible for what they have done only if they could have done otherwise—by presenting a case in which, apparently, a person is morally responsible for what he has done even though, due to the presence of a counterfactual intervener, he could not have done otherwise. According to a compelling (yet relatively under-discussed) response to Frankfurt’s attack on (...)
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  • The Purpose in Chronic Addiction.Hanna Pickard - 2012 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 3 (2):40-49.
    I argue that addiction is not a chronic, relapsing, neurobiological disease characterized by compulsive use of drugs or alcohol. Large-scale national survey data demonstrate that rates of substance dependence peak in adolescence and early adulthood and then decline steeply; addicts tend to “mature out” in their late twenties or early thirties. The exceptions are addicts who suffer from additional psychiatric disorders. I hypothesize that this difference in patterns of use and relapse between the general and psychiatric populations can be explained (...)
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  • Refuting a Frankfurtian Objection to Frankfurt-Type Counterexamples.Ezio Di Nucci - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (2):207 - 213.
    In this paper I refute an apparently obvious objection to Frankfurt-type counterexamples to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities according to which if in the counterfactual scenario the agent does not act, then the agent could have avoided acting in the actual scenario. And because what happens in the counterfactual scenario cannot count as the relevant agent's actions given the sort of external control that agent is under, then we can ground responsibility on that agent having been able to avoid acting. (...)
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