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Abilities to do otherwise

Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3017-3035 (2015)

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  1. Editorial.[author unknown] - 2017 - Editorial 9 (44):1-4.
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  • Editorial.[author unknown] - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (44):1-4.
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  • On Dispositional Masks.Matthew Turyn - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):11865-11886.
    Dispositions can be masked: some state of affairs might obtain which would prevent an entity from displaying the manifestation characteristic of its disposition. Yet discussions of masks overlook a number of key problems, chief among them the probabilistic nature of many dispositional masks. In this paper, I highlight the manner in which past analyses of dispositional masks have been unable to solve the problem of masks. I propose an analysis of dispositional masks which focuses on this and a number of (...)
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  • 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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  • On General and Non‐General Abilities.Simon Kittle - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    I distinguish two ways an ability might be general: (i) an ability might be general in that its possession doesn't entail the possession of an opportunity; (ii) an ability might be general in virtue of pertaining to a wide range of circumstances. I argue that these two types of generality – I refer to them with the terms ‘general’ and ‘generic’, respectively – produce two orthogonal distinctions among abilities. I show that the two types of generality are sometimes run together (...)
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  • How (Not) to Think About the Sense of ‘Able’ Relevant to Free Will.Simon Kittle - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (10):1289-1307.
    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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  • 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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  • Ability’s Two Dimensions of Robustness.Sophie Kikkert - 2022 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 122 (3):348-357.
    The actions of able agents are often reliably successful. I argue that their success may be modally robust along two dimensions. The first dimension helps distinguish the exercise of abilities, which requires local control, from lucky success. The second concerns the global availability of acts: agents with the ability to φ can φ across a variety of circumstances. I introduce a framework that captures the two dimensions and their interaction, and show how it bears on a disagreement about the modal (...)
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  • Against Synchronic Free Will.Simon Kittle - 2022 - In Simon Kittle & Georg Gasser (eds.), The Divine Nature: Personal and A-Personal Perspectives. New York: Routledge. pp. 176-194.
    In this chapter I argue that the necessity of the present counts against theories of synchronic free will, according to which a person may have free will at a time t0 even once that person has decided at t0 to do something. I defend the theory of diachronic free will against recent critiques drawn from the work of Michael Rota and Katherin Rogers. And I chart some of the implications for the philosophy of religion.
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  • 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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