This mode searches for entries containing all the entered words in their title, author, date, comment field, or in any of many other fields showing on OPC pages.
This mode searches for entries containing the text string you entered in their author field. Note that the database does not have first names for all authors, so it is preferable to search only by surnames. If you search for a full name or a name with an initial, enter it in the format used internally, namely the "Lastname, Firstname" or "Lastname, F." format.
This mode differs from the all fields mode in two respects. First, some information not publicly available on the site is searched, e.g., abstracts and excerpts gathered by the crawler, which are not always accurate but can help broaden one's search. Second, you may prefix any term with a '+' or '-' to narrow the search to entries containing it or not containing it, respectively. Terms which are not prefixed by a '+' are not mandatory. Instead, they are weighed depending on their frequency in order to determine the best search results. You may also search for a literal string composed of several words by putting them in double quotation marks (").
Note that short and / or common words are ignored by the search engine.
Try PhilPapers to find published items which are available on a subscription basis.
Abstract: This paper examines recent attempts to revive a classic compatibilist position on free will, according to which having an ability to perform a certain action is having a certain disposition. Since having unmanifested dispositions is compatible with determinism, having unexercised abilities to act, it is held, is likewise compatible. Here it is argued that although there is a kind of capacity to act possession of which is a matter of having a disposition, the new dispositionalism leaves unresolved the main points of dispute concerning free will.
Abstract: In this paper I argue that even if we accept that Jones does not kill Smith in the counterfactual scenario, Frankfurt’s counterexample is still safe because showing that Jones does not kill Smith in the counterfactual scenario does not show that Jones avoids killing Smith, because whether Black intervenes is not up to Jones. I argue that Frankfurt’s counterexample does not depend on the agent acting (let alone doing the same thing) in the counterfactual scenario.
Abstract: This paper offers an analysis of agential abilities in terms of dispositions. The analysis is shown to provide the resources to defend a version of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities against Frankfurt-style counterexamples. Although this principle is often taken to be congenial to incompatibilism about free action and determinism, the paper concludes by using the dispositional analysis of abilities to argue for compatibilism, and to show why the “master argument” for incompatibilism is unsound
Abstract: In traditional Frankfurt cases some conditions that make an outcome unavoidable fail to bring about that outcome. These are cases of causal preemption. I defend this interpretation of traditional Frankfurt cases, and its application to free will, against a dilemma raised by various libertarians. But I go on to argue that Frankfurt cases involving gen- uine (symmetric) causal overdetermination are even more eﬀective at achieving the compatibilist’s purposes. Such cases avoid the “ﬂicker of freedom” debate and better display the central disagreement with regard to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities
Abstract: The derivation of the generally held Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), roughly you are morally responsible only if you could do otherwise, from an even more generally held moral principle, K (for Kant), that roughly speaking ought implies can, has recently been the focus of significant debate. In this paper I shall argue that by focusing on PAP interpreted in terms of commissions alone an alternative derivation of PAP interpreted in terms of omissions is being overlooked. The advantage of the new derivation is that it avoids many of the criticisms directed at the original derivation. Key Words: alternative possibilities blameworthiness moral responsibility omissions
Abstract: Eleonore Stump has argued that a proponent of libertarian freedom must maintain that an agent is sometimes morally responsible for his mental action and that such moral responsibility is incompatible with that mental action’s being causally determined. Nevertheless, she maintains that this moral responsibility does not require that the agent be free to perform another mental action (act otherwise). In this paper, I argue that Stump fails to make a good case against the view that moral responsibility requires the freedom to act otherwise
Abstract: In his book Liberty Worth the Nd?72€,1 Gideon Yaffe has provided an interpretation of Lock:-z's account of moral responsibility according to which it bears important affinities with the views of contemporary theorists Harry lirankfurt and Susan Wolf. On Yaffe’s reading, Locke, like Frankfurt and Wolf separates moral responsibility from the ability to have acted otherwise; like Wolf, Locke associates freedom with the dependency ofone’s choices on the good. I am going to argue that Yaffe’s interpretation of the key passages underlying his interpretation is suspect. We get a very different perspective in trying to interpret the points Locke is trying to make if instead of looking forward to Frankfurt and Wolf we look backward to Aquinas. The first part of this paper will be concerned with an investi~ gation of Locl
Abstract: This enviable piece of philosophy has been as successful as any other in the past three decades of the determinism and freedom debate. It has given rise to a continuing controversy. At its centre is what seems to be a refutation of what seems to be the cast-iron principle that in order for someone to be morally responsible for an action, it must be possible that he or she could have done otherwise. The principle has been assumed by philosophers persuaded that determinism is incompatible with freedom and also by philosophers persuaded that determinism is compatible with freedom. However, Frankfurt's article has mainly been read as lending support to the Compatibilist idea
Abstract: The _minimal free will thesis_ (MFT) holds that at least some of the time, someone has more than one course of action that he can perform. (1) This is the least that must be true in order for it to be said that there is free will. It may be disputed whether the truth of MFT is _sufficient_ for us to 'have free will,' (2) but there is no doubt that the main philosophical challenge to the belief in free will has come from the thesis of universal determinism, so understood as to exclude MFT. A proof of MFT is therefore of considerable philosophical interest, whether or not it constitutes a full proof of free will. In any case, it is the minimal free will thesis of which I have a proof to offer
Abstract: In this paper, I introduce the notion of a Frankfurt Enabler, a counterfactual intervener poised, should a signal for intervention be received, to enable an agent to perform a mental or physical action. Frankfurt enablers demonstrate, I claim, that merely counterfactual conditions are sometimes relevant to assessing what capacities agents possess. Since this is the case, we are not entitled to conclude that agents in standard Frankfurt-style cases retain their responsibility-ensuring capacities. There is no principled rationale for bracketing counterfactual interveners in standard Frankfurt-style cases, but admitting their relevance when they are Frankfurt enablers. I argue that the intuition that we ought to bracket counterfactual interveners is, at bottom, an expression of a mistaken internalist view about the mental
Abstract: Frankfurt-style cases are widely taken to show that agents do not need alternative possibilities to be morally responsible for their actions. Many philosophers take these cases to constitute a powerful argument for compatibilism: if we do not need alternative possibilities for moral responsibility, it is hard to see what the attraction of indeterminism might be. I defend the claim that even though Frankfurt-style cases establish that agents can be responsible for their actions despite lacking alternatives, agents can only be responsible if they possess certain powers, and possession of these powers is - arguably - incompatible with determinism. Because this is the case, Frankfurt-style cases fail to advance the debate between compatibilism and incompatibilism
Abstract: Compatibilism is the thesis that an act may be both free and determined by previous events and the laws of nature. I assume that in normal cases a condition of a person's performing an act freely is that the person is able to refrain from performing the act. Thus, I accept that if determinism entails that agents do not have this ability, we must give up compatibilism. In this paper I try to contribute to the rethinking of compatibilism by distinguishing between strong and weak accounts of laws and strong and weak accounts of ability. I argue that compatibilism is a tenable position when combined with either a weak account of laws, or a weak account of ability, or both. I shall concentrate on influential arguments for incompatibilism due to Peter van Inwagen, often called collectively the "consequence argument".
Abstract: The claim that moral responsibility for an action requires that the agent could have done otherwise is surely attractive. Moreover, it seems reasonable to contend that a requirement of this sort is not merely a necessary condition of little consequence, but that it plays a decisive role in explaining an agent's moral responsibility for an action. For if an agent is to be blameworthy for an action, it seems crucial that she could have done something to avoid this blameworthiness. If she is to be praiseworthy for an action, it seems important that at least she could have done something less admirable. Libertarians, in particular, have often grounded their incompatibilism precisely in such intuitions. By contrast, I shall argue that the availability of alternative possibilities is in a significant sense irrelevant to explaining an agent's moral responsibility for an action. At the same time I do not want to disavow incompatibilism, but rather to defend a version in which the pivotal explanatory role is assigned to features of the causal history of the action, and not to the availability of alternative possibilities.(2)
Abstract: Most libertarians think that some version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) is true. A number of libertarians, which I call ‘Frankfurt-libertarians,’ think that they need not embrace any version of PAP. In this paper, I examine the writings of one such Frankfurt-libertarian, Eleonore Stump, for her evaluation of the impact of Frankfurt-style counterexamples (FSCs) to PAP. I show how, contrary to her own claims, Stump does need a PAP-like principle for her account of free action. I briefly argue that this discussion also goes some distance to showing that any Frankfurt-libertarian is in a similar position regarding the need for some PAP-like principle. If I am correct, then Frankfurt-libertarians must either renounce their incompatibilism or concede that FSCs fail to show all PAP-like principles to be false
Abstract: In ‘Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility,’ Harry Frankfurt introduces a scenario aimed at showing that the having of alternative possibilities is not required for moral responsibility. According to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), an agent is morally responsible for her action only if she could have done otherwise; Frankfurt thinks his scenario shows that PAP is, in fact, false. Frankfurt thinks that the denial of PAP gives credence to compatibilism, the thesis that an agent could both be causally determined in all her actions and yet be morally responsible.1 Since its introduction, Frankfurt’s original ex-
Abstract: One well-known incompatibilist response to Frankfurt-style counterexamples is the ‘flicker-of-freedom strategy’. The flicker strategy claims that even in a Frankfurt-style counterexample, there are still morally relevant alternative possibilities. In the present paper, I differentiate between two distinct understandings of the flicker strategy, as the failure to differentiate these two versions has led some philosophers to argue at cross-purposes. I also explore the respective dialectic roles that the two versions of the flicker strategy play in the debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists. Building on this discussion, I then suggest a reason why the compatibilism/incompatibilism debate has reached a stalemate