Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Alternative Possibilities and Causal Overdetermination

Ferenc Huoranszki
Published Online: 2018-03-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/disp-2017-0004

Abstract

This paper argues against dismissing the Principle of Alternative Possibilities merely on the ground of so-called Frankfurt-style cases. Its main claims are that the interpretation of such cases depends on which substantive theory of responsibility one endorses and that Frankfurt-style cases all involve some form of causal overdetermination which can be interpreted either as being compatible with the potentially manipulated agent’s ability to act otherwise or as a responsibility undermining constraint. The paper also argues that the possibility of such scenarios can support the truth of classical compatibilism as much as the truth of semicompatibilism.

Keywords: Freedom; possibilities; abilities; overdetermination; preemption

References

  • Dennett, D. C. 2003. Freedom Evolves. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar

  • Ehring, D. 1997. Causation and Persistence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Fara, M. 2008. Masked abilities and compatibilism. Mind 117: 843-65.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Fischer, J. M. 2012. Deep Control. Essays on Free Will and Value. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Fischer, J. M. 2002. Frankfurt-type cases and semi-compatibilism. In The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, ed by Robert Kane. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.Google Scholar

  • Fisher, J.M. and Ravizza, M. 1998. Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Frankfurt, H. 1988. The Importance of What We Care About. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Funkhouser, E. 2009. Frankfurt cases and overdetermination. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39: 341-369.Google Scholar

  • Ginet, 1996. In defense of the principle of alternative possibilities: why I don’t find Frankfurt’s argument convincing. Philosophical Perspectives 10: 403-17.Google Scholar

  • Hitchcock, C. 2011. Trumping and contrastive causation. Synthese 181: 227-240.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Huoranszki, F. 2011. Freedom of the Will. A Conditional Analysis. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Kane, R. 1996. The Significance of Free Will. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Kane, R. 2003. Responsibility, indeterminism, and Frankfurt-style cases: a reply to Mele and Robb. In Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities, ed. by GD Widerker and M. McKenna. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Press.Google Scholar

  • Lamb, J. 1993. Evaluative compatibilism and the principle of alternative possibilities. Journal of Philosophy 90: 517-527.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Lewis, D. 1986. Philosophical Papers. Volume II. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Mackie, J. 1974. The Cement of the Universe. A Study on Causation. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar

  • Mele, A. and D Robb. 1998. Rescuing Frankfurt-style cases. Philosophical Review 107: 97-112.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Nelkin, D. 2011. Making Sense of Freedom and Responsibility. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Pereboom, D. 2001. Living without Free Will. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Schaffer, J. 2000. Trumping preemption. Journal of Philosophy 9: 165-81.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Smith, Michael, 2003. Rational capacities, or: how to distinguish recklessness, weakness, and compulsion. In Weakness of the Will and Varieties of Practical Irrationality, ed. by Stroud and Tappolet. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 17-38.Google Scholar

  • Van Inwagen, P. 1978. Ability and responsibility. Philosophical Review 87: 201-224.Google Scholar

  • Vihvelin, K. 2000. Freedom, foreknowledge, and the principle of alternate possibilities. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 8: 1-24.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Vihvelin, K. 2004. Free will demystified: a dispositional account. Philosophical Topics 32: 427-50.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Widerker, D. 1995. Libertarianism and Frankfurt’s attack on the principle of alternative possibilities. Philosophical Review 104: 247-61.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Received: 2017-07-27

Accepted: 2017-02-11

Published Online: 2018-03-06

Published in Print: 2017-10-26


Citation Information: Disputatio, Volume 9, Issue 45, Pages 193–217, ISSN (Online) 0873-626X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/disp-2017-0004.

Export Citation

© 2018. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in