A Dilemma for Reductive Compatibilism

Erkenntnis 88 (7):2763–2785 (2023)
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Abstract

A common compatibilist view says that we are free and morally responsible in virtue of the ability to respond aptly to reasons. Many hold a version of this view despite disagreement about whether free will requires the ability to do otherwise. The canonical version of this view is reductive. It reduces the pertinent ability to a set of modal properties that are more obviously compatible with determinism, like dispositions. I argue that this and any reductive view of abilities faces a significant challenge: it cannot adequately explain the freedom-grounding element of this ability. The problem has the form of a dilemma. This leaves reasons-responsive compatibilists with two options: abandon theories of free will grounded in abilities or abandon reductive theories of abilities.

Author's Profile

Robert H. Wallace
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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