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  1. The Revisionist Turn: A Brief History of Recent Work on Free Will.Manuel Vargas - 2010 - In Jesus Aguilar, Andrei Buckareff & Keith Frankish (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Action. Palgrave.
    I’ve been told that in the good old days of the 1970s, when Quine’s desert landscapes were regarded as ideal real estate and David Lewis and John Rawls had not yet left a legion of influential students rewriting the terrain of metaphysics and ethics respectively, compatibilism was still compatibilism about free will. And, of course, incompatibilism was still incompatibilism about free will. That is, compatibilism was the view that free will was compatible with determinism. Incompatibilism was the view that free (...)
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  • Saying Good-Bye to the Direct Argument the Right Way.Michael McKenna - 2008 - Philosophical Review 117 (3):349-383.
    Peter van Inwagen contends that nonresponsibility transfers across deterministic relations. Suppose it does. If the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every truth about what one does, and no one is even in part morally responsible for the past and the laws, then no one is even in part morally responsible for what one does. This argument, the Direct Argument, has drawn various critics, who have attempted to produce counterexamples to its core inference principle. This article (...)
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  • Saying Good-Bye to the Direct Argument the Right Way.Michael McKenna - 2008 - Philosophical Review 117 (3):349-383.
    Peter van Inwagen contends that nonresponsibility transfers across deterministic relations. Suppose it does. If the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every truth about what one does, and no one is even in part morally responsible for the past and the laws, then no one is even in part morally responsible for what one does. This argument, the Direct Argument, has drawn various critics, who have attempted to produce counterexamples to its core inference principle. This article (...)
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  • The Dialectical Advantage of the Direct Argument.Jeremy Byrd - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (2):431-444.
    Traditionally, incompatibilists about moral responsibility and determinism claim that we cannot be morally responsible unless we could have done otherwise and that we cannot do otherwise if we are determined. The Direct Argument for incompatibilism supposedly offers its defenders a dialectical advantage over this traditional approach insofar as it does not appear to rely on either of these controversial claims. Recently, though, David Widerker has argued against this supposition and urged that it is time to say farewell to the Direct (...)
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  • Impeccability and Perfect Virtue.Luke Henderson - 2017 - Religious Studies 53 (2):261-280.
    Whatever else a theory of impeccability assumes about the moral life of heavenly agents, it seems to imply something about the type of actions possible for such agents, along with the quality of their moral characters. Regarding these characters, there are many that have argued impeccable and heavenly agents must also be perfectly virtuous agents. Michael Slote has recently argued, however, that perfect virtue is impossible. Assuming Slote’s argument is successful, a theory of impeccability that relies on the possibility of (...)
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  • Reflections on the Incompatibilist’s Direct Argument.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2008 - Erkenntnis 68 (1):1 - 19.
    The Direct Argument for the incompatibility of determinism and moral responsibility is so christened because this argument allegedly circumvents any appeal to the principle of alternate possibilities – a person is morally responsible for doing something only if he could have avoided doing it – to secure incompatibilism. In this paper, I first summarize Peter van Inwagen’s version of the Direct Argument. I then comment on David Widerker’s recent responses to the argument. Finally, I cast doubt on the argument by (...)
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  • On the Transcendental Freedom of the Intellect.Colin McLear - 2020 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7:35-104.
    Kant holds that the applicability of the moral ‘ought’ depends on a kind of agent-causal freedom that is incompatible with the deterministic structure of phenomenal nature. I argue that Kant understands this determinism to threaten not just morality but the very possibility of our status as rational beings. Rational beings exemplify “cognitive control” in all of their actions, including not just rational willing and the formation of doxastic attitudes, but also more basic cognitive acts such as judging, conceptualizing, and synthesizing.
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  • On an Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Randolph Clarke - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):13-24.
    Galen Strawson has published several versions of an argument to the effect that moral responsibility is impossible, whether determinism is true or not. Few philosophers have been persuaded by the argument, which Strawson remarks is often dismissed “as wrong, or irrelevant, or fatuous, or too rapid, or an expression of metaphysical megalomania.” I offer here a two-part explanation of why Strawson’s argument has impressed so few. First, as he usually states it, the argument is lacking at least one key premise. (...)
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  • Frankfurt's Argument Against Alternative Possibilities: Looking Beyond the Examples.Michael McKenna - 2008 - Noûs 42 (4):770-793.
    Harry Frankfurt dramatically shaped the debates over freedom and responsibility by arguing that the sort of freedom germane to responsibility does not involve the freedom to do otherwise. His argument turns upon an example meant to disprove the Principle of Alternative Possibilities: A person is morally responsible for what she has done only if she could have done otherwise. Debate over Frankfurt's argument has turned almost exclusively on the success of the example meant to defeat it. But there is more (...)
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  • Incompatibilism and the Past.Andrew M. Bailey - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):351-376.
    There is a new objection to the Consequence Argument for incompatibilism. I argue that the objection is more wide-ranging than originally thought. In particular: if it tells against the Consequence Argument, it tells against other arguments for incompatibilism too. I survey a few ways of dealing with this objection and show the costs of each. I then present an argument for incompatibilism that is immune to the objection and that enjoys other advantages.
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  • Libertarianism and Human Agency.Alfred R. Mele - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):72-92.
    Some scientists have reported what they regard as evidence of indeterministic brain processes that influence behavior (Brembs 2011, Maye et al. 2007). How do these reports bear on the positive side of libertarianism about free will? That is an approximation of my guiding question in this article. I make the question more precise in section 1, in light of some conceptual and scientific background. In the remainder of the article, I seek—and eventually offer—an answer. Topics dis-cussed along the way include (...)
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  • Direct Versus Indirect: Control, Moral Responsibility, and Free Action.Alfred R. Mele - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):559-573.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Recent Work on Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Neil Levy & Michael McKenna - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):96-133.
    In this article we survey six recent developments in the philosophical literature on free will and moral responsibility: (1) Harry Frankfurt's argument that moral responsibility does not require the freedom to do otherwise; (2) the heightened focus upon the source of free actions; (3) the debate over whether moral responsibility is an essentially historical concept; (4) recent compatibilist attempts to resurrect the thesis that moral responsibility requires the freedom to do otherwise; (5) the role of the control condition in free (...)
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  • Why Frankfurt-Examples Don’T Need to Succeed to Succeed.Felipe Leon & Neal A. Tognazzini - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (3):551-565.
    In this paper we argue that defenders of Frankfurt-style counterexamples to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities do not need to construct a metaphysically possible scenario in which an agent is morally responsible despite lacking the ability to do otherwise. Rather, there is a weaker (but equally legitimate) sense in which Frankfurt-style counterexamples can succeed. All that's needed is the claim that the ability to do otherwise is no part of what grounds moral responsibility, when the agent is indeed morally responsible.
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  • Uncompromising Source Incompatibilism.Seth Shabo - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (2):349-383.
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  • Incompatibilism and the Transfer of Non-Responsibility.Justin Capes - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1477-1495.
    Arguments for the incompatibility of determinism and moral responsibility sometimes make use of various transfer of non-responsibility principles. These principles purport to specify conditions in which lack of moral responsibility is transmitted to the consequences of things for which people are not morally responsible. In this paper, after developing what I take to be the most serious objections to extant principles of this sort, I identify and defend a new transfer of non-responsibility principle that is immune to these and other (...)
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  • New Essays on the Metaphysics of Moral Responsibility.Joseph Keim Campbell - 2008 - The Journal of Ethics 12 (3-4):193 - 201.
    This is the introduction to a volume of new essays in the metaphysics of moral responsibility by John Martin Fischer, Carl Ginet, Ishtiyaque Haji, Alfred R. Mele, Derk Pereboom, Paul Russell, and Peter van Inwagen. I provide some background for the essays, cover the main debates in the metaphysics of moral responsibility, and emphasize some of the authors' contributions to this area of philosophy.
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  • Farewell to Direct Source Incompatibilism.Joseph Keim Campbell - 2006 - Acta Analytica 21 (4):36 - 49.
    Traditional theorists about free will and moral responsibility endorse the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP): an agent is morally responsible for an action that she performs only if she can do or could have done otherwise. According to source theorists, PAP is false and an agent is morally responsible for her action only if she is the source of that action. Source incompatibilists accept the source theory but also endorse INC: if determinism is true, then no one is morally responsible (...)
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  • Does the Direct Argument Beg the Question?Justin Capes - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (1):81-96.
    The direct argument is among the most prominent arguments for the incompatibility of determinism and moral responsibility. Some critics of the argument have accused it, or certain defenses of its central premise, of begging the question. This article responds to that accusation.
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  • The Fate of the Direct Argument and the Case for Incompatibilism.Seth Shabo - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (3):405-424.
    In this paper, I distinguish causal from logical versions of the direct argument for incompatibilism. I argue that, contrary to appearances, causal versions are better equipped to withstand an important recent challenge to the direct-argument strategy. The challenge involves arguing that support for the argument’s pivotal inference principle falls short just when it is needed most, namely when a deterministic series runs through an agent’s unimpaired deliberations. I then argue that, while there are limits to what causal versions can accomplish, (...)
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  • Truthmakers and the Direct Argument.Charles Hermes - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (2):401-418.
    The truthmaker literature has recently come to the consensus that the logic of truthmaking is distinct from classical propositional logic. This development has huge implications for the free will literature. Since free will and moral responsibility are primarily ontological concerns (and not semantic concerns) the logic of truthmaking ought to be central to the free will debate. I shall demonstrate that counterexamples to transfer principles employed in the direct argument occur precisely where a plausible logic of truthmaking diverges from classical (...)
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  • Laws of Nature and Free Will.Pedro Merlussi - 2017 - Dissertation, Durham University
    This thesis investigates the conceptual relationship between laws of nature and free will. In order to clarify the discussion, I begin by distinguishing several questions with respect to the nature of a law: i) do the laws of nature cover everything that happens? ii) are they deterministic? iii) can there be exceptions to universal and deterministic laws? iv) do the laws of nature govern everything in the world? In order to answer these questions I look at three widely endorsed accounts (...)
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  • Taking Responsibility for Ourselves: A Kierkegaardian Account of the Freedom-Relevant Conditions Necessary for the Cultivation of Character.Paul E. Carron - 2011 - Dissertation, Baylor University
    What are the freedom-relevant conditions necessary for someone to be a morally responsible person? I examine several key authors beginning with Harry Frankfurt that have contributed to this debate in recent years, and then look back to the writings or Søren Kierkegaard to provide a solution to the debate. In this project I investigate the claims of semi-compatibilism and argue that while its proponents have identified a fundamental question concerning free will and moral responsibility—namely, that the agential properties necessary for (...)
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  • Identification, Situational Constraint, and Social Cognition : Studies in the Attribution of Moral Responsibility.L. Woolfolk Robert, M. Doris John & M. Darley John - 2007 - In Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    In three experiments we studied lay observers’ attributions of responsibility for an antisocial act (homicide). We systematically varied both the degree to which the action was coerced by external circumstances and the degree to which the actor endorsed and accepted ownership of the act, a psychological state that philosophers have termed ‘identification’. Our findings with respect to identification were highly consistent. The more an actor was identified with an action, the more likely observers were to assign responsibility to the actor, (...)
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  • As a Matter of Fact : Empirical Perspectives on Ethics.John M. Doris & Stephen P. Stich - 2005 - In Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
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  • Understanding Source Incompatibilism.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2011 - Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):73-88.
    Source incompatibilism is an increasingly popular version of incompatibilism about determinism and moral responsibility. However, many self-described source incompatibilists formulate the thesis differently, resulting in conceptual confusion that can obscure the relationship between source incompatibilism and other views in the neighborhood. In this paper I canvas various formulations of the thesis in the literature and argue in favor of one as the least likely to lead to conceptual confusion. It turns out that accepting my formulation has some surprising taxonomical consequences.
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  • Compatibilist Alternatives.Joseph Keim Campbell - 2005 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):387-406.
    _If you were free in doing something and morally responsible for it, you could have done otherwise. That_ _has seemed a pretty firm proposition among the old, new, clear, unclear and other propositions in the_ _philosophical discussion of freedom and determinism. If you were free in what you did, there was an_ _alternative. It is also at least natural to think that if determinism is true, you can never do otherwise than_ _you do. G. E. Moore, that Cambridge reasoner in (...)
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  • Agnosticism About Moral Responsibility.Jeremy Byrd - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):411-432.
    Traditionally, incompatibilism has rested on two theses. First, the familiar Principle of Alternative Possibilities says that we cannot be morally responsible for what we do unless we could have done otherwise. Accepting this principle, incompatibilists have then argued that there is no room for such alternative possibilities in a deterministic world. Recently, however, a number of philosophers have argued that incompatibilism about moral responsibility can be defended independently of these traditional theses (Ginet 2005: 604-8; McKenna 2001; Stump 1999: 322-4, 2000 (...)
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  • Whose Argumentative Burden, Which Incompatibilist Arguments?—Getting the Dialectic Right.Michael McKenna - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):429-443.
    Kadri Vihvelin has recently argued that between compatibilists and incompatibilists, the incompatibilists have a greater dialectical burden than compatibilists. According to her, both must show that free will is possible, but beyond this the incompatibilists must also show that no deterministic worlds are free will worlds. Thus, according to Vihvelin, so long as it is established that free will is possible, all the compatibilist must do is show that the incompatibilists' arguments are ineffective. I resist Vihvelin's assessment of the dialectical (...)
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  • The Direct Argument is a Prima Facie Threat to Compatibilism.Ori Beck - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1791-1817.
    In the early 1980’s van Inwagen presented the Direct Argument for the incompatibility of determinism with moral responsibility. In the course of the ensuing debate, Fischer, McKenna and Loewenstein have replied, each in their own way, that versions of the Direct Argument do not pose even a prima facie threat to compatibilism. Their grounds were that versions of the Direct Argument all use the “Transfer NR” inference rule in a dialectically problematic way. I rebut these replies here. By so doing, (...)
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  • Free Will and Moral Responsibility: Does Either Require the Other?Alfred Mele - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (3):297-309.
    This article explores the conceptual connections between free action and action for which the agent is morally responsible. Questions addressed include the following. Can agents who are never morally responsible for anything sometimes act freely? Can agents who never act freely be morally responsible for some of their actions? Various compatibilist and incompatibilist responses to these questions are discussed, as is the control over their behavior that ordinary agents attribute to themselves.
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  • Close Calls and the Confident Agent: Free Will, Deliberation, and Alternative Possibilities.Eddy Nahmias - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (3):627-667.
    Two intuitions lie at the heart of our conception of free will. One intuition locates free will in our ability to deliberate effectively and control our actions accordingly: the ‘Deliberation and Control’ (DC) condition. The other intuition is that free will requires the existence of alternative possibilities for choice: the AP condition. These intuitions seem to conflict when, for instance, we deliberate well to decide what to do, and we do not want it to be possible to act in some (...)
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  • Character-Development and Heaven.Luke Henderson - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 76 (3):319-330.
    Numerous philosophers in recent decades have argued that a partial explanation for how the blessed in heaven are impeccable while remaining free and responsible is that they have cultivated or developed such a virtuous character prior to heaven that once in heaven they are incapable of acting contrary to their virtuously cultivated characters. Further, because the agents are at least partially responsible for the construction of their characters, they can be considered free and responsible with regard to the choices or (...)
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  • The Manipulation Argument.Kristin Mickelson - 2016 - In Chapter 14, the Routledge Companion to Free Will (editors: Meghan Griffith , Kevin Timpe & Neil Levy). New York: Routledge.
    "The Manipulation Argument has recently taken center stage in the free-will debate, yet little else can be said of this newcomer that is uncontroversial. At present, even the most fundamental elements of the Manipulation Argument--its structure, conclusion, and target audience--are a matter of dispute. As such, we cannot begin, as we ideally would, with a simple and relatively uncontroversial overview of the argument. Instead, clarifying the debate over the basic structure and general conclusion of the Manipulation Argument will be our (...)
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  • Identification, Situational Constraint, and Social Cognition: Studies in the Attribution of Moral Responsibility.Robert L. Woolfolk, John M. Doris & John M. Darley - 2006 - Cognition 100 (2):283-301.
  • What Must a Proof of Incompatibilism Prove?Seth Shabo - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (3):361-371.
    Peter van Inwagen has developed two highly influential strategies for establishing incompatibilism about causal determinism and moral responsibility. These have come to be known as ‘the Direct Argument’ and ‘the Indirect Argument,’ respectively. In recent years, the two arguments have attracted closely related criticisms. In each case, it is claimed, the argument does not provide a fully general defense of the incompatibilist’s conclusion. While the critics are right to notice these arguments’ limitations, they have not made it clear what the (...)
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  • A Contextualist Reply to the Direct Argument.Matthew H. Slater - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (1):115-137.
    The Direct Argument for the incompatibility of moral responsibility and determinism is designed to side-step complaints given by compatibilist critiques of the so-called Transfer Argument. I argue that while it represents an improvement over the Transfer Argument, it loses some of its plausibility when we reflect on some metalogical issues about normal modal modeling and the semantics of natural language. More specifically, the crucial principle on which the Direct Argument depends appears doubtful where context plays a role in evaluation of (...)
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