Frankfurtian Reflections: A Critical Discussion of Robert Lockie’s “Three Recent Frankfurt Cases”

Philosophia 44 (2):585-605 (2016)
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In a recent article, Robert Lockie brings about a critical examination of three Frankfurtstyle cases designed by David Widerker and Derk Pereboom. His conclusion is that these cases do not refute either the Principle of Alternative Possibilities or some cognate leeway principle for moral responsibility. Though I take the conclusion to be true, I contend that Lockie's arguments do not succeed in showing it. I concentrate on Pereboom's Tax Evasion 2. After presenting Pereboom's example and analyzing its structure, I distinguish two strategies of Lockie's to defend PAP against it, which I call "No True Alternative Decision" and "No Responsibility", respectively. According to NTAD, Pereboom's example fails because the agent has alternatives to his decision. I hold that this strategy is faulty because the alternatives that Lockie points to are arguably not robust enough to save PAP. According to NR, the example fails because the agent is not blameworthy for his decision. After defending the intuitiveness of the agent's blameworthiness, I present Lockie's arguments against this blameworthiness and suggest that they might beg the question against Frankfurt theorists. I examine Lockie's main response to this question-begging objection and hold that it does not clearly succeed in meeting it. Moreover, I hold that this response faces other important problems. Additional responses appear to be unsatisfactory as well. Hence, Lockie's defense of the agent's blamelessness lacks justification. The general conclusion is that Lockie does not succeed in defusing Pereboom's Tax Evasion 2 as a counterexample to PAP.
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