Revisiting McKay and Johnson's counterexample to ( β)

Philosophical Explorations 25 (2):189-203 (2022)
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Abstract

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 conditional excluded middle principle. In order to make this point I demonstrate that (β) is valid on Stalnaker's theory of counterfactuals. This result is important and should not be neglected, I argue, because there is a particular line of objection to the revised formulations of the consequence argument that does not succeed against the original version.

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Pedro Merlussi
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

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