A critical assessment of Pereboom’s Frankfurt-style example
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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.
KeywordsFree 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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