Tackling it Head On: How Best to Handle the Modified Manipulation Argument
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Patrick Todd’s article, “A New Approach to Manipulation Arguments,” has spurred considerable discussion in the literature.1 In his essay, Todd attempts to reframe how manipulation arguments function dialectically. These arguments, often presented by incompatibilists, typically rely on cases in which agents, though they have met a number of compatibilist sufficient conditions for responsibility, have been manipulated such that they intuitively fail to be blameworthy for their actions.2 While it has traditionally been assumed that the incompatibilist must argue that these manipulated agents are not at all responsible for their behavior, Todd contends that the incompatibilist need only argue that manipulation mitigates responsibility. Though innovative, Todd’s “modified manipulation argument,” or simply MMA, has been met with resistance. In a recent paper, “Manipulation and Mitigation,” Andrew Khoury attempts to defuse MMA by presenting a competing compatibilistversion of...
KeywordsMoral Responsibility Determinism Case Manipulation Argument Specific Premise Manipulation Case
I would like to thank Michael McKenna, Carolina Sartorio, and Shaun Nichols for their helpful feedback and suggestions. I would also like to thank Matthew Flummer for his valuable comments and the audience at Florida State University’s Graduate Conference on Free Will and Moral Responsibility for an excellent discussion of an earlier draft of this paper.