Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 779–784 | Cite as

Luck and Agent-Causation: A Response to Franklin

  • Neil LevyEmail author


Christopher Franklin argues that the hard luck view, which I have recently defended, is misnamed: the arguments turn on absence of control and not on luck. He also argues that my objections to agent-causal libertarianism depend on a demand, for a contrastive explanation that guarantees the choice the agent makes, which would be question-begging in the dialectical context. In response to the first objection, I argue that though Franklin may be right that it is absence of control that matters to freedom and not luck, we often are unable to discern whether an agent lacks sufficient control without asking whether the event is lucky for the agent; hence we cannot dispense with worries about luck in favor of concern about control. In response to the second worry, I argue that though Franklin is right in claiming that there is a perfectly good explanation regarding how the agent-causal power is exercised, it is not an adequate explanation given the context, because the same kind of explanation is available on event-causal theories. Agent-causal libertarians aim to avoid the luck objection which they acknowledge is powerful against event-causal libertarians; if it is true that they can offer nothing more than the latter kinds of theories in the way of control over actions, they fail in their aim.


Moral responsibility Luck Control Agent-causation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental HealthThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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