Aborting the zygote argument

Philosophical Studies 160 (3):379-389 (2012)
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Abstract

Alfred Mele’s zygote argument for incompatibilism is based on a case involving an agent in a deterministic world whose entire life is planned by someone else. Mele’s contention is that Ernie (the agent) is unfree and that normal determined agents are relevantly similar to him with regards to free will. In this paper, I examine four different ways of understanding this argument and then criticize each interpretation. I then extend my criticism to manipulation arguments in general. I conclude that the zygote argument is no threat to compatibilism.

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Stephen Kearns
Florida State University

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