Synthese 194 (8):2785-2810 (2017)

Verena Wagner
Universität Konstanz
Compatibilist methods borrowed from the free will debate are often used to establish doxastic freedom and epistemic responsibility. Certain analogies between the formation of intention and belief make this approach especially promising. Despite being a compatibilist myself in the practical debate, I will argue that compatibilist methods fail to establish doxastic freedom. My rejection is not based on an argument against the analogy of free will and free belief. Rather, I aim at showing that compatibilist free will and free belief are equally misguided because freedom is a concept that only applies to an agent’s actions and not to her mental attitudes. Compatibilist strategies that seek to define control by reason-responsiveness merely weaken the conditions for freedom such that arbitrary forms of control can be defined. I will demonstrate that these methods also commit to freedom of fear, freedom of hope and freedom of anger. However, I accept the compatibilist challenge to account for the addict’s and the paranoid’s unfreedom. I will sketch a unified approach to compatibilist free agency that does justice to these phenomena without the help of free will or free belief
Keywords Doxastic freedom  Doxastic voluntarism  Free belief  Free will  Freedom of action  Epistemic responsibility  Doxastic compatibilism  Reason-responsiveness  Voluntary control
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-015-0851-9
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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.
Deciding to Believe.Bernard Williams - 1973 - In Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136--51.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Ethics of Belief.Andrew Chignell - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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