Sunday, July 13, 2008

The original Frankfurt essay

This is the original essay in which Frankfurt introduced his counterexamples. But what seems troubling to me is that the very force of those counterexamples is based on a lack of causal connection between the controller and the action. What insures that we cannot do otherwise is something that doesn't cause the action in question, therefore we are more inclined to jump to the "responsible" verdict. Or some people are, others, who might be inclined to accept the central argument for open theism, may disagree. But whatever the case is, Frankfurt even points out the lack of causal connection as the reason for giving the "responsible" verdict, then the argument jumps the tracks and argues for the compatiblity of moral responsibility with causal determination.
You change the very thing that makes the counterexamples work when you go to the case of causal determination, yet these counterexamples are supposed to undergird the compatibility of moral responsiblity with causal determination. This seems just wrong.

3 comments:

exapologist said...

I understand Kevin Timpe's stuff on free will defends a position that jibes with your intuitions a good deal. You might want to check it out.

Hans said...

Moral responsibility is not compatible with determinism.

'My brain made me do it' is not a defence in a court of law.

Clayton said...

But what seems troubling to me is that the very force of those counterexamples is based on a lack of causal connection between the controller and the action.

Can you be more specific? Which examples do you have in mind?

I take it that the idea is something like this. There are cases where an agent A will X either in virtue of an intention or in virtue of a backup plan that will force A to X. In some of these very cases where the agent A's in virtue of the intention, we judge that A is responsible _even though had the intention not led to the X-ing something else would have_.

The intuition that these subjects are responsible under these conditions (not the conditions where the agent does not intend to X but is forced to X by an outside agent) is supposed to be trouble for PAP.

I can't quite recover from what you've said what you think is wrong about all this.