Philosophical Studies

, Volume 153, Issue 2, pp 261–272 | Cite as

Pereboom on the Frankfurt cases

Article

Abstract

According to the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP), a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. In what follows, I want to defend this principle against an apparent counterexample offered recently by Derk Pereboom (Living without free will, 2001; Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 29:228–247, 2005). Pereboom’s case, a variant of what are known as ‘Frankfurt cases,’ is important for it attempts to overcome a dilemma posed for earlier alleged counterexamples to PAP. However, I will argue that by paying closer attention to the details of Pereboom’s example, we see that his example fails to show a way between the horns of the dilemma posed for the earlier Frankfurt examples.

Keywords

Ethics Metaphysics Moral responsibility Free will Frankfurt Pereboom 

References

  1. Fischer, J. M. (1994). The metaphysics of free will. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Frankfurt, H. (1969). Alternative possibilities and moral responsibility. Journal of Philosophy, 66, 829–839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ginet, C. (1996). In defense of the principle of alternative possibilities: Why I don’t find Frankfurt’s argument convincing. Philosophical Perspectives, 10, 403–417.Google Scholar
  4. Ginet, C. (2002). Review of Pereboom’s Living Without Free Will. Journal of Ethics, 6, 305–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ginet, C., & Palmer, D. (Forthcoming). On Mele and Robb’s indeterministic Frankfurt-style case. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Google Scholar
  6. Kane, R. (1996). The significance of free will. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Mele, A., & Robb, D. (2003). Bbs, magnets, and seesaws: The metaphysics of Frankfurt-style cases. In M. McKenna & D. Widerker (Eds.), Moral responsibility and alternative possibilities. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  8. Pereboom, D. (2001). Living without free will. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Pereboom, D. (2005). Defending hard incompatibilism. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 29, 228–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pereboom, D. (2008). Defending hard incompatibilism again. In N. Trakakis & D. Cohen (Eds.), Essays on free will and moral responsibility. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  11. van Inwagen, P. (1983). An essay on free will. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Widerker, D. (1995). Libertarianism and Frankfurt’s attack on the principle of alternative possibilities. Philosophical Review, 104, 247–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Tennessee, KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations