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

John Fischer
University of California, Riverside
John and Mary have fully consensual sex, but they do not want to have a child, so they use contraception with the intention of avoiding pregnancy. Unfortunately, although they used the contraception in the way in which it is supposed to be used, Mary has become pregnant. The couple decides to have the baby, whom they name ‘Ernie’. Now we fill in the story a bit. The universe is causally deterministic, and 30 years later Ernie performs some action A and thereby brings about event E. We also stipulate that Ernie meets plausible compatibilist conditions for acting freely . That is, we suppose that there are no uncontroversially freedom- and responsibility-undermining conditions present in the context in which Ernie performs A, and, further, that Ernie meets plausible compatibilist conditions for acting freely. Let us say, for example, that one adopts the theory according to which the freedom-relevant condition on moral responsibility is that the agent exhibits ‘guidance control’ of his action and . On this approach, one acts freely in so far as one acts from one's own, suitably reasons-responsive mechanism. We can then simply stipulate that, in the relevant context, Ernie acts from his own, suitably reasons-responsive mechanism . If one prefers a different set of compatiblist-friendly conditions for acting freely, one can simply stipulate that Ernie meets them; indeed, the plausible compatibilist-friendly conditions seem to be compatible with each other, and thus Ernie could presumably meet all of them in the relevant context. In such a case, and given that the epistemic condition on acting freely and moral responsibility is met, I am inclined to say that Ernie …
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/analys/anr008
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,683
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
The Metaphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control.John Martin Fischer - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (188):373-381.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Free Will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Skepticism About Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018):1-81.
Manipulation, Moral Responsibility, and Bullet Biting.Alfred R. Mele - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (3):167-184.
Defending (a Modified Version of) the Zygote Argument.Patrick Todd - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):189-203.

View all 28 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Defending (a Modified Version of) the Zygote Argument.Patrick Todd - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):189-203.
Aborting the Zygote Argument.Stephen Kearns - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (3):379-389.
Metaphysical Accounts of the Zygote as a Person and the Veto Power of Facts.Thomas J. Bole - 1989 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (6):647-653.
Could a Zygote Be a Human Being?John Burgess - 2010 - Bioethics 24 (2):61-70.
Why I Was Never a Zygote.Robert Lane - 2003 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):63-83.
Were You a Zygote?Ronald Tacelli - 2006 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 62 (2/4):889 - 899.
The Zygote: To Be Or Not Be A Person.C. A. Bedate & R. C. Cefalo - 1989 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (6):641-645.
Paley’s Argument for Design.Graham Oppy - 2002 - Philo 5 (2):161-173.
Freedom and Miracles.John Martin Fischer - 1988 - Noûs 22 (2):235-252.


Added to PP index

Total views
104 ( #106,856 of 2,462,461 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,311 of 2,462,461 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes