Another redated post.
Bill Hasker sent me some clarifying comments on Frankfurt counterexamples.
WH: First, I think agent-causation is the key issue in the Frankfurt cases; what one is ultimately responsible for is agent-causing one’s own action (or attempted action, etc. . . .), or failing to do so. The issue of responsibility for consequences of one’s action is certainly complex, as the discussion shows, and I haven’t worked out a detailed position on it. The second point is, I may have “softened” my view insofar as I no longer think it’s possible to give a simple taxonomy of Frankfurt cases and dispose of them once for all. (John Martin Fischer has persuaded me that my criticism of him concerning “flicker of freedom” defenses is inaccurate and unfair.) “Of the making of Frankfurt cases there is no end, and many refutations make for weariness of the flesh!” Seriously, if one wants to engage these cases, they have to be taken one at a time. But I haven’t yet seen one that can’t be answered. Either the intuition that the agent is still responsible is shaky, or there is something in the example concerning which there was an alternative possibility. And then Fischer, et al., will say that the alternative isn’t sufficiently “robust” to ground responsibility – and that is probably where the argument reaches an impasse. At least, that’s the way I tend to see it at present.