Moral Responsibility and the Metaphysics of Free Will: Reply to van Inwagen

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In The Philosophical Quarterly, 47 (1997), pp. 373–81, van Inwagen argues in a critical notice of my book The Metaphysics of Free Will that the impression that Frankfurt-type examples show that moral responsibility need not require alternative possibilities results from insufficient analytical precision. He suggests various precise principles which imply that moral responsibility requires alternative possibilities. In reply, I seek to defend the conclusion I have drawn from Frankfurt-type examples: moral responsibility need not require alternative possibilities. I contend that van Inwagen's principles — the principle of possible prevention and the no-matter-what principle — are invalid, and I suggest that their plausibility comes from thinking about a proper subset of the relevant cases.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of California, Riverside

Publication date: April 1, 1998

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