, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 555–566 | Cite as

Capes on the W-Defense

  • David PalmerEmail author


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. Widerker (Philosophical Perspectives 14: 181-201, 2000) offers an intriguing argument for PAP as it applies to moral blameworthiness. His argument is known as the “What-should-he-have-done defense” of PAP or the “W-defense” for short. In a recent article, Capes (Philosophical Studies 150: 61-77, 2010) attacks Widerker’s argument by rejecting the central premise on which it rests, namely, the premise that a person is blameworthy for his action only if in the circumstances it would be morally reasonable to expect him not to have acted as he did. In this paper, I show that Capes’ criticism does not undermine this premise and, to this extent, Widerker’s argument is safe from Capes’ attack.


Moral responsibility Alternative possibilities Blameworthiness Principle of alternative possibilities Widerker Frankfurt Capes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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