A challenge for Frankfurt-style compatibilists

Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1279-1285 (2015)
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The principle of alternative possibilities tells us that an agent is morally responsible for an action only if he could have done otherwise. Frankfurt-style cases provide an extremely influential challenge to the PAP . And Frankfurt-style compatibilists are motivated to accept compatibilism about responsibility and determinism in part due to FSCs. But there is a significant tension between our judgments about responsibility in FSCs and our judgments about responsibility in certain omissions cases. This tension has thus far largely been treated as an internal puzzle for defenders of FSCs to solve. My goal here is to regiment this tension into a clear argument which undermines the FSC based critique of PAP. I will also argue that there is an in principle reason to doubt that Frankfurt-Style Compatibilists will be able to successfully respond to my argument

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Philip Swenson
William & Mary


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