Philosophical Studies 166 (3):553-573 (2013)

Nadine Elzein
University of Warwick
Pereboom has formulated a Frankfurt-style counterexample in which an agent is alleged to be responsible despite the fact that there are only non-robust alternatives present (Pereboom, Moral responsibility and alternative possibilities: essays on the importance of alternative possibilities, 2003; Phil Explor 12(2):109–118, 2009). I support Widerker’s objection to Pereboom’s Tax Evasion 2 example (Widerker, J Phil 103(4):163–187, 2006) (which rests on the worry that the agent in this example is derivatively culpable as opposed to directly responsible) against Pereboom’s recent counterarguments to this objection (Pereboom 2009). Building on work by Moya (J Phil 104:475–486, 2007; Critica 43(128):3–26, 2011) and Widerker (Widerker 2006), I argue that there is good reason to measure the robustness of alternatives in terms of comparative, rather than non-comparative likelihood of exemption, where the important factor for blame is whether the agent is “doing her reasonable best” to avoid blameworthy behaviour. I maintain that an agent only ever appears responsible when alternatives are robust in this sense. In Pereboom’s examples, both Tax Evasion 2, and his more recent version, Tax Evasion 3 (Pereboom 2009), I maintain the robustness of the alternatives, so understood, is unclear. We can clear up any ambiguity by sharpening the examples, and the result is that the agent appears responsible when the alternatives are made clearly robust, and does not appear responsible when alternatives appear clearly non-robust. The comparative nature of our judgements about blame, I maintain helps to explain the continuing appeal of the “leeway-incompatibilist” viewpoint
Keywords Moral responsibility  Frankfurt-Style Counterexamples  Pereboom  Alternative possibilities  Widerker  Moya
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-0061-y
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References found in this work BETA

The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):494-497.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):129-134.

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Alternate Possibilities and Moral Asymmetry.Daniel Coren - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (2):145-159.

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