The luck problem for compatibilists


Authors
Neil Levy
Oxford University
Abstract
Libertarianism in all its varieties is widely taken to be vulnerable to a serious problem of present luck, inasmuch as it requires indeterminism somewhere in the causal chain leading to action. Genuine indeterminism entails luck, and lack of control over the ensuing action. Compatibilism, by contrast, is generally taken to be free of the problem of present luck, inasmuch as it does not require indeterminism in the causal chain. I argue that this view is false: compatibilism is subject to a problem of present luck. Taken by itself, the compatibilist problem with present luck is less serious than the analogous problem confronting libertarianism. However, its effects are just as devastating for the entire account of freedom: the present luck confronting compatibilism is sufficient to undermine the compatibilist response to distant – constitutive – luck.
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