MIT24_120s09_lec14 - MIT OpenCourseWare http:/

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MIT OpenCourseWare 24.120 Moral Psychology Spring 2009 For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: .
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24.210 MORAL PSYCHOLOGY RICHARD HOLTON XIV Free Will II FRANKFURT ON ALTERNATIVE POSSIBILITIES Frankfurt's basic contention is simple: contrary to what we have suggested, it is not true that you are not responsible if you could not have done otherwise. That is, he wants to reject: The principle of alternate possibilities: A person is morally responsible for their act only if they could have done otherwise. The principle is a problem for the compatibilist, since, if determinism is true, no one could have done otherwise. Frankfurt aims to show the principle is false by counterexample: by showing that you can be responsible for doing something even though you could not have done otherwise. The basic move is to provide examples that draw apart the two properties. First example: Coercion. Perhaps PAP gets its appeal from the idea that a person who is coerced is not morally responsible. Suppose that Jones is threatened by Black that he will suffer dire consequences if (and only if?) he does not do something that he has already decided to do. Is he still responsible for doing it? Three different cases: (i) the threat made no difference to him whatsoever. (ii) the threat swamped all thought of his previous intention: it made all the difference (iii)the threat impressed him, but didn’t change what he intended to do. The case of (iii) seems to be one in which he is coerced and yet is still responsible. So perhaps the principle of coercion is that a coerced person is not responsible for their action if and only if it was the coercion that led them to perform that action. Is this already a counterexample to
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course PHIL 201H1F taught by Professor Derekallen during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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MIT24_120s09_lec14 - MIT OpenCourseWare http:/

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