Semicompatibilism: no ability to do otherwise required

Philosophical Explorations 20 (3):308-321 (2017)
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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 not merely a verbal dispute. Along the way, I give special attention to the notion of general abilities, and, though I defend the distinctiveness of Fischer’s semicompatibilism against the verbal dispute charge, I also use the discussion of the nature of general abilities to argue for the falsity of a certain claim that Fischer and coauthor Mark Ravizza have made about their account.

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Taylor W. Cyr
Samford University


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