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The Zygote Argument remixed

Analysis 71 (2):267-272 (2011)

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  1. The Threat From Manipulation Arguments.Benjamin Matheson - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):37-50.
    Most seem to presume that what is threatening about manipulation arguments is the ‘no difference’ premise – that is, the claim that there are no responsibility-relevant differences between a manipulated agent and her merely causally determined counterpart. This presumption underlies three recent replies to manipulation arguments from Kearns (2012), King (2013), and Schlosser (2015). But these replies fail to appreciate the true threat from manipulation arguments – namely, the manipulation cases that are allegedly counterexamples to the leading compatibilist conditions on (...)
     
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  • Carving a Life From Legacy: Frankfurt’s Account of Free Will and Manipulation in Greg Egan’s “Reasons to Be Cheerful”.Taylor W. Cyr - 2018 - Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy 1:1-15.
    Many find it intuitive that having been manipulated undermines a person's free will. Some have objected to accounts of free will like Harry Frankfurt's (according to which free will depends only on an agent's psychological structure at the time of action) by arguing that it is possible for manipulated agents, who are intuitively unfree, to satisfy Frankfurt's allegedly sufficient conditions for freedom. Drawing resources from Greg Egan's "Reasons to Be Cheerful" as well as from stories of psychologically sophisticated artificial intelligence (...)
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  • Arguments for Incompatibilism.Kadri Vihvelin - 2003/2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Determinism is a claim about the laws of nature: very roughly, it is the claim that everything that happens is determined by antecedent conditions together with the natural laws. Incompatibilism is a philosophical thesis about the relevance of determinism to free will: that the truth of determinism rules out the existence of free will. The incompatibilist believes that if determinism turned out to be true, it would also be true that we don't have, and have never had, free will. The (...)
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  • Manipulation Arguments and Libertarian Accounts of Free Will.Taylor W. Cyr - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (1):57-73.
    In response to the increasingly popular manipulation argument against compatibilism, some have argued that libertarian accounts of free will are vulnerable to parallel manipulation arguments, and thus manipulation is not uniquely problematic for compatibilists. The main aim of this article is to give this point a more detailed development than it has previously received. Prior attempts to make this point have targeted particular libertarian accounts but cannot be generalized. By contrast, I provide an appropriately modified manipulation that targets all libertarian (...)
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  • Freedom, Creativity, and Manipulation.Eric Christian Barnes - 2015 - Noûs 49 (3):560-588.
  • The Assimilation Argument and the Rollback Argument.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):395-416.
    Seth Shabo has presented a new argument that attempts to codify familiar worries about indeterminism, luck, and control. His ‘Assimilation Argument’ contends that libertarians cannot distinguish overtly randomized outcomes from exercises of free will. Shabo claims that the argument possesses advantages over the Mind Argument and Rollback Argument, which also purport to establish that indeterminism is incompatible with free will. I argue first that the Assimilation Argument presents no new challenges over and above those presented by the Rollback Argument, and (...)
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  • Mitigating Soft Compatibilism.Justin A. Capes - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):640-663.
    According to what I will call mitigating soft compatibilism, although the truth of determinism is consistent with free action and moral responsibility, determinism nevertheless mitigates praiseworthiness and blameworthiness. In this paper, I take a closer look at this novel brand of compatibilism. My principal aim in doing so is to further explicate the view and to explore ways in which it can be deployed in defense of the more general compatibilist thesis. I also discuss one of the most pressing challenges (...)
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  • The Four-Case Argument and the Existential/Universal Effect.Andrew J. Latham & Hannah Tierney - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-11.
    One debate surrounding Derk Pereboom’s (2001, 2014) four-case argument against compatibilism focuses on whether, and why, we judge manipulated agents to be neither free nor morally responsible. In this paper, we propose a novel explanation. The four-case argument features cases where an agent is the only individual in her universe who has been manipulated. Let us call manipulation whose scope includes at least one but not all agents existential manipulation. Contrast this with universal manipulation, which affects all agents within a (...)
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  • Why Compatibilists Must Be Internalists.Taylor W. Cyr - 2019 - The Journal of Ethics 23 (4):473-484.
    Some compatibilists are internalists. On their view, whether an agent is morally responsible for an action depends only on her psychological structure at that time. Other compatibilists are externalists. On their view, an agent’s history can make a difference as to whether or not she is morally responsible. In response to worries about manipulation, some internalists have claimed that compatibilism requires internalism. Recently, Alfred Mele has argued that this internalist response is untenable. The aim of this paper is to vindicate (...)
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  • Manipulation and Degrees of Blameworthiness.Martin Montminy & Daniel Tinney - 2018 - The Journal of Ethics 22 (3-4):265-281.
    We propose an original response to Derk Pereboom’s four-case manipulation argument. This response combines a hard-line and a soft-line. Like hard-liners, we insist that the manipulated agent is blameworthy for his wrongdoing. However, like soft-liners, we maintain that there is a difference in blameworthiness between the manipulated agent and the non-manipulated one. The former is less blameworthy than the latter. This difference is due to the fact that it is more difficult for the manipulated agent to do the right thing. (...)
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  • Manipulation, Moral Responsibility, and Bullet Biting.Alfred R. Mele - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (3):167-184.
    This article’s guiding question is about bullet biting: When should compatibilists about moral responsibility bite the bullet in responding to stories used in arguments for incompatibilism about moral responsibility? Featured stories are vignettes in which agents’ systems of values are radically reversed by means of brainwashing and the story behind the zygote argument. The malady known as “intuition deficit disorder” is also discussed.
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  • Physical Determinism, Zygote-Manipulation and Responsible Agency.Ferenc Huoranszki - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (4):1525-1540.
    Agents have no control over the formation of their own zygote. Others may do. According to a well-known argument, the so-called Zygote Argument for incompatibilism, these facts, together with a prima facie plausible further assumption, are sufficient to prove that human agents cannot be responsible for their actions if they live in a deterministic universe. This paper argues that the lack of agents’ control over the constitution of their own zygote can undermine their responsibility only in exceptional conditions and that (...)
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  • Initial Design, Manipulation, and Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer - 2021 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 15 (2):255-270.
    This is a critical notice of Alfred Mele’s, Manipulated Agents: A Window to Moral Responsibility. I agree with Mele that moral responsibility is a historical phenomenon, but give some considerations in favor of a positive, rather than negative, historical condition for moral responsibility. I focus on Mele’s Zygote Argument, which is intended to present a challenge for compatibilism. I contend that the challenge can be met, and I offer an error theory of the appeal of the Zygote Argument.
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  • Manipulated Agents: Replies to Fischer, Haji, and McKenna.Alfred R. Mele - 2021 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 15 (2):299-309.
    This article is part of a symposium on Alfred Mele’s Manipulated Agents: A Window to Moral Responsibility. It is Mele’s response to John Fischer, Ishtiyaque Haji, and Michael McKenna. Topics discussed include the bearing of manipulation on moral responsibility, the zygote argument, the importance of scenarios in which manipulators radically reverse an agent’s values, positive versus negative historical requirements for moral responsibility, the scope of moral responsibility, the value of intuitions, bullet-biting, and how we develop from neonates who are not (...)
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  • Manipulators and Moral Standing.Benjamin Matheson - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (4):1197-1214.
    Manipulation arguments aim to show that compatibilism is false. Usually, they aim to undermine compatibilism by first eliciting the intuition that a manipulated agent is not morally responsible. Patrick Todd's (2012) Moral Standing Manipulation Argument instead aims to first elicit the intuition that a manipulator cannot blame her victim. Todd then argues that the best explanation for why a manipulator cannot blame her victim is that incompatibilism is true. In this paper, I present three lines of defence against this argument (...)
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  • The Replication Argument for Incompatibilism.Patrick Todd - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1341-1359.
    In this paper, I articulate an argument for incompatibilism about moral responsibility and determinism. My argument comes in the form of an extended story, modeled loosely on Peter van Inwagen’s “rollback argument” scenario. I thus call it “the replication argument.” As I aim to bring out, though the argument is inspired by so-called “manipulation” and “original design” arguments, the argument is not a version of either such argument—and plausibly has advantages over both. The result, I believe, is a more convincing (...)
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  • Diana and Ernie Return: On Carolina Sartorio’s Causation and Free Will.Alfred Mele - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1525-1533.
    In the final chapter of her Causation and Free Will, Carolina Sartorio offers a novel reply to an original-design argument for the thesis that determinism is incompatible with free will and moral responsibility, an argument that resembles Alfred Mele’s zygote argument in Free Will and Luck. This article assesses the merits of her reply. It is concluded that Sartorio has more work to do if she is to lay this style of argument to rest.
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  • Responsibility, Autonomy, and the Zygote Argument.John Fischer - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (3):223-237.
    In this paper I argue that the distinction between moral responsibility and autonomy can illuminate various debates about the Zygote Argument. Having made this distinction, one can see how these manipulation arguments are unsuccessful. Building on previous work, I also argue that this distinction can provide a framework for understanding other important work in agency theory, including that of Harry Frankfurt and Gary Watson.
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  • Manipulation and the Zygote Argument: Another Reply.Markus E. Schlosser - 2015 - The Journal of Ethics 19 (1):73-84.
    Alfred Mele’s zygote argument is widely considered to be the strongest version of the manipulation argument against compatibilism (about free will and determinism). Opponents have focused largely on the first of its two premises and on the overall dialectic. My focus here will be on the underlying thought experiment—the Diana scenario—and on the second premise of the argument. I will argue that reflection on the Diana scenario shows that the second premise does not hold, and we will see that my (...)
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  • Defending (a Modified Version of) the Zygote Argument.Patrick Todd - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):189-203.
    Think of the last thing someone did to you to seriously harm or offend you. And now imagine, so far as you can, becoming fully aware of the fact that his or her action was the causally inevitable result of a plan set into motion before he or she was ever even born, a plan that had no chance of failing. Should you continue to regard him or her as being morally responsible—blameworthy, in this case—for what he or she did? (...)
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  • Moralna odgovornost i znanstvena slika svijeta.Jelena Mijić - 2020 - Filozofska Istrazivanja 40 (2):313-328.
    Predmet su rada rasprave o odnosu determinizma i slobode volje (tj. problem kompatibilnosti), odnosno implikacije koje imaju po moralnu odgovornost. Problemu se pristupa iz naturalističke perspektive iako se ne nudi odgovor na pitanje istine kauzalnog determinizma. Međutim, s ciljem da se ispita perspektiva za moralnu odgovornost, pretpostavlja se da je kauzalni determinizam potkrijepljen znanošću. Razmatra se pojam kauzalnog determinizma, a potom se ispituju izazovi koje argument konzekvenci postavlja pred slobodu volje shvaćenu kao mogućnost da se učini drugačije. Cilj je rada (...)
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  • How Do Manipulation Arguments Work?John Fischer - 2016 - The Journal of Ethics 20 (1-3):47-67.
    Alfred Mele has presented the Zygote Argument as a challenge to compatibilism. In previous work I have offered a critique of Mele’s first premise. Patrick Todd, Neal Tognazzini, and Derk Pereboom have offered an alternative interpretation of the argument, substituting for. Here I offer a critical evaluation of this strategy, and in the process I seek to understand the deep structure of the Zygote Argument.
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  • Skepticism About Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018):1-81.
    Skepticism about moral responsibility, or what is more commonly referred to as moral responsibility skepticism, refers to a family of views that all take seriously the possibility that human beings are never morally responsible for their actions in a particular but pervasive sense. This sense is typically set apart by the notion of basic desert and is defined in terms of the control in action needed for an agent to be truly deserving of blame and praise. Some moral responsibility skeptics (...)
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  • Manipulation Arguments and the Standing to Blame.Matt King - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (1):1-20.
    The majority of recent work on the moral standing to blame (the idea that A may be unable to legitimately blame B despite B being blameworthy) has focused on blamers who themselves are blameworthy. This is unfortunate, for there is much to learn about the standing to blame once we consider a broader range of cases. Doing so reveals that challenged standing is more expansive than previously acknowledged, and accounts that have privileged the fact that the blamers are themselves morally (...)
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  • Free Will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    “Free Will” is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives. Which sort is the free will sort is what all the fuss is about. (And what a fuss it has been: philosophers have debated this question for over two millenia, and just about every major philosopher has had something to say about it.) Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is very (...)
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  • Aborting the Zygote Argument.Stephen Kearns - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (3):379-389.
    Alfred Mele’s zygote argument for incompatibilism is based on a case involving an agent in a deterministic world whose entire life is planned by someone else. Mele’s contention is that Ernie (the agent) is unfree and that normal determined agents are relevantly similar to him with regards to free will. In this paper, I examine four different ways of understanding this argument and then criticize each interpretation. I then extend my criticism to manipulation arguments in general. I conclude that the (...)
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  • The Presidential Address: Philosophical Scepticism and the Aims of Philosophy.Helen Beebee - 2018 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 118 (1):1-24.
  • The Threat of Effective Intentions to Moral Responsibility in the Zygote Argument.Robyn Repko Waller - 2013 - Philosophia 42 (1):209-222.
    In Free Will and Luck, Mele presents a case of an agent Ernie, whose zygote was intentionally designed so that Ernie A-s in 30 years, bringing about a certain event E. Mele uses this case of original design to outline the zygote argument against compatibilism. In this paper I criticize the zygote argument. Unlike other compatibilists who have responded to the zygote argument, I contend that it is open to the compatibilist to accept premise one, that Ernie does not act (...)
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