Philosophical Studies

, Volume 175, Issue 12, pp 3117–3129 | Cite as

A critical assessment of Pereboom’s Frankfurt-style example

  • Michael McKennaEmail author


In this paper, I assess Derk Pereboom’s argument for the thesis that moral responsibility does not require the ability to do otherwise. I argue that the Frankfurt-style example Pereboom develops presupposes a prior act or omission which the agent was able to avoid. This undermines his argument. I propose a way for Pereboom to revise his example and thereby undercut this objection. Along the way, I also argue that Pereboom should supplement his account of what counts as a robust alternative—an alternative of the sort that should matter to those who argue for an ability-to-do-otherwise condition on moral responsibility.


Free will Moral responsibility Frankfurt-style examples Pereboom 



For helpful comments, I would like to thank Ishtiyaque Haji, Terry Horgan, Derk Pereboom, and Carolina Sartorio. I also profited from an excellent set of comments from an anonymous referee for Philosophical Studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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