Acta Analytica 32 (2):169-191 (2017)

Nadine Elzein
University of Warwick
Proponents of modern Frankfurt-Style Counterexamples generally accept that we cannot construct successful FSCs in which there are no alternative possibilities present. But they maintain that we can construct successful FSCs in which there are no morally significant alternatives present and that such examples succeed in breaking any conceptual link between alternative possibilities and free will. I argue that it is not possible to construct an FSC that succeeds even in this weaker sense. In cases where any alternatives are clearly insignificant, it does not appear at all obvious that the agent can be held responsible. Present popular FSCs include alternatives that are ambiguous in their significance, and when the examples are sharpened to remove this ambiguity, they lose their force. Moreover, the proponent of such examples faces a problem: We can easily construct scenarios in which any alternatives are obviously insignificant, and in such scenarios, we are not intuitively inclined to suppose the agent is responsible. The proponent of new FSCs must therefore distinguish any alternatives she includes from the sorts included in these scenarios. The difference must now be such that this helps to make it seem intuitively likely that the agent is responsible where the agent otherwise would not appear responsible, and these alternatives are irrelevant to any judgment about whether the agent is responsible. I maintain that it is impossible to achieve both of these goals at once.
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-016-0305-0
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Free Will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Free Will & Empirical Arguments for Epiphenomenalism.Nadine Elzein - 2020 - In Peter Róna & László Zsolnai (eds.), Agency and Causal Explanation in Economics. Virtues and Economics, vol 5. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. pp. 3-20.
Against (Modified) Buffer Cases.Justin A. Capes - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):711-723.

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