Traditional Compatibilism Reformulated and Defended

Journal of Philosophical Research 42:277-300 (2017)
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Abstract

Traditional compatibilism about free will is widely considered to be untenable. In particular, the conditional analysis of the ability to do otherwise appears to be subject to clear counterexamples. I will propose a new version of traditional compatibilism that provides a conditional account of both the ability to do otherwise and the ability to choose to do otherwise, and I will argue that this view withstands the standard objections to traditional compatibilism. For this, I will assume with incompatibilists that the mere possession of a general ability to do otherwise is not sufficient for having the ability that is required for free will. This concession distinguishes the view from the traditional conditional analysis and from recent dispositional accounts of the ability to do otherwise, and we will see that this concession enables a straightforward response to the counterexamples. This, in turn, will play a crucial role in my response to the strongest version of the consequence argument for incompatibilism.

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Citations of this work

Arguments for incompatibilism.Kadri Vihvelin - 2003/2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by C. B. Macpherson.
Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.

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