The Principle of Alternate Possibilities as Sufficient but not Necessary for Moral Responsibility: A way to Avoid the Frankfurt Counter-Example

Philosophia 44 (3):961-969 (2016)
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The aim of this paper is to present a version of the principle of alternate possibilities which is not susceptible to the Frankfurt-style counter-example. I argue that PAP does not need to be endorsed as a necessary condition for moral responsibility and, in fact, presenting PAP as a sufficient condition maintains its usefulness as a maxim for moral accountability whilst avoiding Frankfurt-style counter-examples. In addition, I provide a further sufficient condition for moral responsibility – the twin world condition – and argue that this provides a means of justifying why the protagonist in Frankfurt-style scenarios is still felt to be morally responsible. I conclude with the claim that neither the amended PAP nor the twin world condition is necessary for the ascription of moral responsibility; rather, what is necessary is simply that one of these conditions is satisfied.



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Garry Young
University of Melbourne

References found in this work

Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
The Metaphysics of Free Will: an Essay on Control.John Martin Fischer - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (188):373-381.
Libertarian freedom and the principle of alternative possibilities.Eleonore Stump - 1996 - In Jeff Jordan & Daniel Howard-Snyder (eds.), Faith, Freedom, and Rationality: Philosophy of Religion Today. Lanham: Rowman &Amp; Littlefield. pp. 73-88.
The Metaphysics of Free Will.William L. Rowe - 1996 - Religious Studies 32 (1):129-131.

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