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In the twentieth century the scientific worldview underwent a radical change. It has turned out that subatomic physics cannot be understood within the framework of the Naive Realism of the preceding scientists. The Theory of Relativity and, especially, Quantum Mechanics require that our worldview be based on a critical scientific philosophy, according to which all our theories and mental pictures of the world are only devices to organise and foresee our experience, and not the images of the world as it "really" is. Thus along with the twentieth-century's specific discoveries in the physics of the micro-world, we should consider the emergence of a properly critical philosophy as a scientific discovery, and as one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the twentieth century.

We also know that determinism, i. On the contrary, freedom, which was banned from the science of the nineteenth century as an illusion, became a part, if not the essence, of reality. The mechanistic worldview saw the laws of nature as something that uniquely prescribes how events should develop, with indeterminacy resulting only from our lack of knowledge; contemporary science regards the laws of nature as only restrictions imposed on a basically non-deterministic world.

It is not an accident that the most general laws of nature are conservation laws, which do not prescribe how things must be, but only put certain restrictions or constraints upon them. There is genuine freedom in the world. When we observe it from the outside, it takes the form of quantum-mechanical unpredictability; when we observe it from within, we call it our free will. We know that the reason why our behaviour is unpredictable from the outside is that we have ultimate freedom of choice.

This freedom is the very essence of our personalities, the treasure of our lives. It is given us as the first element of the world we come into. Logically, the concept of free will is primary, impossible to derive or to explain from anything else. The concept of necessity, including the concept of a natural law, is a derivative: we call necessary, or predetermined, those things which cannot be changed at will, or by will.

Most people, if asked, would like genuine freedom of choice, proper free will, but can we really have it? Philosophy offers a more complex analysis of this issue than the general scientific view outlined above. Within the philosophical tradition, and given the general set of philosophical principles belonging to this tradition, there are two main strands of argument for free will, i ethical and, ii psychological.

It is the set of psychological considerations that concern us more directly here, though, of course the ethical concerns are always present in the background to any debate. As the main features of the doctrine of free will have been sketched in the history of the problem, a very brief account of the argument for moral freedom will now suffice.

Will, where viewed as a free power, is defined by defenders of free will as the capacity of self-determination. By self is here understood not a single present mental state William James , nor a series of mental states David Hume and JS Mill , but an abiding rational being which is the subject and cause of these states.

Problem of moral responsibility

We should distinguish between:. Spontaneous acts and desires are opposed to coaction or external compulsion, but they are not thereby morally free acts. They may still be the necessary outcome of the nature of the agent as, e. The essential feature of free volition is the element of choice - the vis electiva, as St. There is a concomitant interrogative awareness in the form of the query "Shall I acquiesce or shall I resist? It is this act of consent or approval, which converts a mere involuntary impulse or desire into a free volition and makes me accountable for it. A train of thought or volition deliberately initiated or acquiesced in, but afterward continued merely spontaneously, without reflective advertence to our elective adoption of it, remains free in causa for there was a choice, a free choice, about bringing it about.

I am therefore responsible for it, though actually the process has passed into the department of merely spontaneous or automatic activity. A large part of the operation of carrying out a resolution, once the decision is made, is commonly of this kind. The question of free will may now be stated thus. Libertarians, indeterminists and anti-determinists reply "No" to it.

The mind or soul in deliberate actions is a free cause. Given all of the conditions requisite for action, we in virtue or our mind or soul can either act or abstain from action. It can, and sometimes does, exercise its own causality against the weight of character and present motives. The evidence for the existence of genuine free will usually consists of one of two kinds, the ethical and the psychological, though the psychological arguments often appeal to ethical considerations, and even the ethical arguments themselves are, in some sense, psychological. Necessarianism, fatalism or determinism in any form are usually held to be in conflict with the chief moral notions and convictions of mankind at large.

The actual universality of such moral ideas is indisputable. Duty, moral obligation, responsibility, merit, and justice signify notions universally present in the consciousness of normally developed human beings. Further, these notions, as universally understood, imply that human beings really are the master of some of their acts, that they are, at least at times, capable of self-determination, that all their volitions are not the inevitable outcome of their circumstances. This implies that when I say that I ought not to have performed some forbidden act, that it was my duty to obey the law, I imply that I could have done so.

The judgement of all human beings is the same on this point. When we say that a person is held justly responsible for a crime, or that they deserve praise or reward for an heroic act of self-sacrifice, we mean th at they were the author and cause of that act in such fashion that they had it in their power not to perform the act. We exempt the insane or the child, because we believe them devoid of moral freedom and determined inevitably by the motives that happened to act on them.

This belief is so strong, or ingrained, or just plain true that determinists have to admit that the meaning of these terms will, according to their view, have to be changed. But this is to admit that their theory is in direct conflict with universal psychological facts. It thereby stands disproved. Again, it may be argued that, if logically followed out, the determinist doctrine would annihilate, or leave no room for, human morality, and consequently that such a theory cannot be true. Such a view would then correspond to fatalism. Consciousness testifies to our moral freedom.

We feel ourselves to be free when exercising certain acts. We judge afterwards that we acted freely in those acts. We distinguish them quite clearly from experiences in which we believe we were not free or responsible. The conviction is not confined to the ignorant; even the determinist psychologist is governed in practical life by this belief.

Henry Sidgwick states the fact in the most moderate terms, when he says:. The weight of such evidence is best judged by carefully studying the various mental activities in which freedom is exercised. Amongst the chief of these are: voluntary attention, deliberation, choice, and sustained resistance to temptation. You may, nonetheless, prefer to think them out with concrete examples of your own inner experience and feel or intuit the force or power of the notions raised for examination. The main objection to the range of psychological arguments for free will is stated in the assertion that we can be conscious only of what we actually do, not of our ability to do something else.

The reply is that we can be conscious not only of what we do, but of how we do it; not only of the act but of the mode of the act. Observation reveals to us that we are subjects of different kinds of processes of thought and volition. Sometimes the line of conscious activity follows the direction of spontaneous impulse, the preponderating force of present motive and desire; at other times we intervene and exert personal causality in other words, we do something about it.

Consciousness testifies through our being conscious of some relevant such and such that we freely and actively strengthen one set of motives, resist the stronger inclination, and not only drift to one side but actively choose it. In fact, we are sure that we sometimes exert free volition, because at other times we are the subject of conscious activities that are not free, and we know the difference.

Again, it is urged that experience shows that human beings are determined by motives, and that we always act on this assumption. The reply is that experience proves, or at least shows, that human beings are influenced by motives, but not that they are always inexorably determined by the strongest motive. It is alleged that we always decide in favour of the strongest motive.

This is either untrue, or the barren statement that we always choose what we choose. A free volition is "a causeless volition". Our self, or our mind itself, is the cause. Other objections include philosophical ones from the point of view of fatalism and scientific ones from such general principles as the Law of the Conservation of Energy. Free will does not mean capability of willing in the absence of all motive, or of arbitrarily choosing anything whatever. It is not non-determinism, randomness or non-causality, in any shape or form. The rational being is always attracted by what is apprehended as good.

Pure evil, misery as such, is something a human being could not properly, rationally, desire. However, the good presents itself in many forms and under many aspects such as the pleasant, the prudent, the right, the noble, the beautiful, and in reflective or deliberate action we can choose among these. Much the larger part of our ordinary lives are administered by the machinery of reflex action, the automatic working of the organism, and acquired habits.

In the series of customary acts which fill up our day, such as rising, meals, study, work, etc. There is nothing to arouse special volition, or call for interference with the natural current, so the stream of consciousness flows smoothly along the channel of least resistance. They are so free in causa , because we have either freely initiated them, or approved them from time to time when we adverted to their ethical quality, or because we freely acquired the habits that now accomplish these acts.

It is then especially when some act with a specially moral complexion is recognised and acknowledged as good or evil that the exertion of our freedom and the exercise of our free will is brought into play. This may not, of course, occur to everyone at the same time or in the same way. It is open to individual circumstance and is in no way rigidly determined. Causal determinism is sometimes also called "nomological determinism.

Causal determinism hereafter, simply "determinism" is the thesis that the course of the future is entirely determined by the conjunction of the past and the laws of nature. Imagine a proposition that completely describes the way that the entire universe was at some point in the past, say million years ago. Let us call this proposition "P. Given P and L, there is only one possible future, one possible way for things to end up. To make the same point using possible world semantics, determinism is the thesis that all the states of affairs that obtain at some time in the past, when conjoined with the laws of nature, entail which possible world is the actual world.

Since a possible world includes those states of affairs that will obtain, the truth of determinism amounts to the thesis that the past and the laws of nature entail what states of affairs will obtain in the future, and that only those states of affairs entailed by the past and the laws will in fact obtain. A system's being determined is different from its being predictable. It is possible for determinism to be true and for no one to be able to predict the future.

The fact that no human agent knows or is able to know future truths has no bearing on whether there are future truths entailed by the conjunction of the past and the laws.

However, there is a weaker connection between the thesis of determinism and the predictability of the future. If determinism were true, then a being with a complete knowledge of P and L and with sufficient intellective capacities should be able to infallibly predict the way that the future will turn out. However, given that we humans lack both the relevant knowledge and the intellective capacities required, the fact that we are not able to predict the future is not evidence for the falsity of determinism.

Most philosophers agree that whether or not determinism is true is a contingent matter; that is, determinism is neither necessarily true nor necessarily false. If this is so, then whether or not determinism is true becomes an empirical matter, to be discovered by investigating the way the world is, not through philosophical argumentation. This is not to deny that the truth of determinism would have metaphysical implications. For one, the truth of determinism would entail that the laws of nature are not merely probabilistic—for if they were, then the conjunction of the past and the laws would not entail a unique future.

Furthermore, as we shall see shortly, philosophers care very much about what implications the truth of determinism would have for free will. But the point to note is that if the truth of determinism is a contingent truth about the way the world actually is, then scientific investigation should give us insight into this matter.

Let us say that a possible world is deterministic if causal determinism is true in that world. There are two ways that worlds could fail to be deterministic. As already noted, if the laws of nature in a given world were probabilistic, then such a world would not be deterministic. Secondly, if there are entities within a world that are not fully governed by the laws of nature, then even if those laws are themselves deterministic, that world would not be deterministic. Some scientists suggest that certain parts of physics give us reason to doubt the truth of determinism.

For example, the standard interpretation of Quantum Theory, the Copenhagen Interpretation, holds that the laws governing nature are indeterministic and probabilistic. According to this interpretation, whether or not a small particle such as a quark swerves in a particular direction at a particular time is described properly only by probabilistic equations.

Although the equations may predict the likelihood that a quark swerves to the left at a certain time, whether or not it actually swerves is indeterministic or random. There are also deterministic interpretations of Quantum Theory, such as the Many-Worlds Interpretation. Fortunately, the outcome of the debate regarding whether Quantum Theory is most properly interpreted deterministically or indeterminstically, can be largely avoided for our current purposes.

Even if systems of micro-particles such as quarks are indeterministic, it might be that systems involving larger physical objects such as cars, dogs, and people are deterministic. It is possible that the only indeterminism is on the scale of micro-particles and that macro-objects themselves obey deterministic laws. If this is the case, then causal determinism as defined above is, strictly speaking, false, but it is "nearly" true.

That is, we could replace determinism with "near determinism," the thesis that despite quantum indeterminacy, the behaviors of all large physical objects—including all our actions—obey deterministic laws [see Honderich , particularly chapter 6]. What would be the implications of the truth of either determinism or near determinism? More specifically, what would be the implications for questions of free will?

One way to think about the implications would be by asking the following the question: Could we still be free even if scientists were to discover that causal determinism or near determinism is true? The question at the end of the preceding section Could we have free will even if determinism is true? Compatibilists answer this question in the affirmative. They believe that agents could have free will even if causal determinism is true or even if near determinism is true. In what follows, I will omit this qualification. In other words, the existence of free will in a possible world is compatible with that world being deterministic.

For this reason, this position is known as "compatibilism," and its proponents are called "compatibilists. According to "incompatibilists," the existence of free will is incompatible with the truth of determinism. If a given possible world is deterministic, then no agent in that world has free will for that very reason. There are at least two kinds of incompatibilists. Some incompatibilists think that determinism is true of the actual world, and thus no agent in the actual world possesses free will.

Such incompatibilists are often called "hard determinists" [see Pereboom for a defense of hard determinism]. Other incompatibilists think that the actual world is not deterministic and that at least some of the agents in the actual world have free will. These incompatibilists are referred to as "libertarians" [see Kane , particularly chapters 3 and 4].

However, these two positions are not exhaustive. It is possible that one is an incompatibilist, thinks that the actual world is not deterministic, and yet still thinks that agents in the actual world do not have free will. While it is less clear what to call such a position perhaps "free will deniers" , it illustrates that hard determinism and libertarianism do not exhaust the ways to be an incompatibilist. Since all incompatibilists, whatever their stripe, agree that the falsity of determinism is a necessary condition for free will, and since compatibilists deny this assertion, the following sections speak simply of incompatibilists and compatibilists.

It is also important to keep in mind that both compatibilism and incompatibilism are claims about possibility. According to the compatibilist, it is possible that an agent is both fully determined and yet free. The incompatibilist, on the other hand, maintains that such a state of affairs is impossible. But neither position by itself is making a claim about whether or not agents actually do possess free will. Assume for the moment that incompatibilism is true. If the truth of determinism is a contingent matter, then whether or not agents are morally responsible will depend on whether or not the actual world is deterministic.

Likewise, assume both that compatibilism is true and that causal determinism is true in the actual world. It does not follow from this that agents in the actual world actually possess free will. Finally, there are free will pessimists [see Broad and G. Strawson ]. Pessimists agree with the incompatibilists that free will is not possible if determinism is true.

However, unlike the incompatibilists, pessimists do not think that indeterminism helps. In fact, they claim, rather than helping support free will, indeterminism undermines it. Consider Allison contemplating taking her dog for a walk. According to the pessimist, if Allison is determined, she cannot be free. But if determinism is false, then there will be indeterminacy at some point prior to her action. Let us assume that that indeterminacy is located in which reasons occur to Allison.

But if Allison decides on the basis of whatever reasons she does have, then her volition is based upon something outside of her control. It is based instead on chance. Thus, pessimists think that the addition of indeterminism actually makes agents lack the kind of control needed for free will. While pessimism might seem to be the same position as that advocated by free will deniers, pessimism is a stronger claim.

Pessimists, however, have a stronger position, thinking that free will is impossible. Not only do agents lack free will, there is no way that they could have it [see G. The only way to preserve moral responsibility, for the pessimist, is thus to deny that free will is a necessary condition for moral responsibility. As pessimism shows us, even a resolution to the debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists will not by itself solve the debate about whether or not we actually have free will.

Nevertheless, it is to this debate that we now turn. Incompatibilists say that free will is incompatible with the truth of determinism. Not all arguments for incompatibilism can be considered here; let us focus on two major varieties. The first variety is built around the idea that having free will is a matter of having a choice about certain of our actions, and that having a choice is a matter of having genuine options or alternatives about what one does. In other words, we lack the ability for self-determination. Let us consider a representative argument from each set.

The most well-known and influential argument for incompatibilism from the first set of arguments is called the "Consequence Argument," and it has been championed by Carl Ginet and Peter van Inwagen [see Ginet and van Inwagen ]. The Consequence Argument is based on a fundamental distinction between the past and the future.

First, consider an informal presentation of this argument. There seems to be a profound asymmetry between the past and the future based on the direction of the flow of time and the normal direction of causation. The future is open in a way that the past is not. It looks as though there is nothing that Allison can now do about the fact that Booth killed Lincoln, given that Lincoln was assassinated by Booth in This point stands even if we admit the possibility of time travel.

For if time travel is possible, Allison can influence what the past became, but she cannot literally change the past. Consider the following argument:. So, at most the possibility of time travel allows for agents to have causal impact on the past, not for agents to change what has already become the past. The past thus appears to be fixed and unalterable. However, it seems that the same is not true of the future, for Allison can have an influence on the future through her volitions and subsequent actions.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

For example, if she were to invent a time machine, then she could, at some point in the future, get in her time machine and travel to the past and try to prevent Lincoln from being assassinated. However, given that he was assassinated, we can infer that her attempts would all fail. On the other hand, she could refrain from using her time machine in this way. While Allison might deliberate about whether a past action was really the best action that she could have done, she deliberates about the future in a different way. Allison can question whether her past actions were in fact the best, but she can both question what future acts would be best as well as which future acts she should perform.

Thus, it looks like the future is open to Allison, or up to her, in a way that the past is not. In other words, when an agent like Allison is using her free will, what she is doing is selecting from a range of different options for the future, each of which is possible given the past and the laws of nature. For this reason, this view of free will is often called the "Garden of Forking Paths Model.

The Consequence Argument builds upon this view of the fixed nature of the past to argue that if determinism is true, the future is not open in the way that the above reflections suggest. For if determinism is true, the future is as fixed as is the past. Remember from the above definition that determinism is the thesis the past P and the laws of nature L entail a unique future. Let " F " refer to any true proposition about the future. The Consequence argument depends on two modal operators, and two inference rules. According to Alpha, if p is a necessary truth, then no one has, or ever had, any choice about whether p was true.

Similarly, according to Beta, if no one has, or ever had, any choice about p being true, and no one has, or ever had, any choice that p entails q , then no one has, or ever had, any choice about whether q is true. To see the plausibility of Beta, consider the following application. Let p be the proposition "The earth was struck by a meteor weighing metric tons one billion years ago," and let q be the proposition "If the earth was struck by a meteor weighing metric tons one billion years ago, then thousands of species went extinct.

Beta thus looks extremely plausible. But if Beta is true, then we can construct an argument to show that if determinism is true, then I have no choice about anything, including my supposed free actions in the future. The argument begins with the definition of determinism given above:. The second premise in the Consequence Argument is called the "fixity of the past. The final premise in the argument is the fixity of the laws of nature. No one has, or ever had, a choice about what the laws of nature are try as I might, I cannot make the law of universal gravitation not be a law of nature :.

And from 5 and 6, again using Beta, we can infer that no one has, or ever had, a choice about F :.

Introduction: The Contours of Contemporary Free-Will Debates (Part 2) - Oxford Handbooks

Given that F was any true proposition about the future, the Consequence Argument concludes that if determinism is true, then no one has or ever had a choice about any aspect of the future, including what we normally take to be our free actions. Thus, if determinism is true, we do not have free will. The second general set of arguments for the incompatibility of free will and determinism builds on the importance of the source of a volition for free will. Again, it will be helpful to begin with an informal presentation of the argument before considering a formal presentation of it.

According to this line of thought, an agent has free will when her volitions issue from the agent herself in a particular sort of way say, her beliefs and desires. In other words, an agent acts with free will only if she originates her action, or if she is the ultimate source or first cause of her action [see Kane ]. Consider again the claim that free will is a necessary condition for moral responsibility. If Allison is coerced into walking her dog via brainwashing, then her walking of the dog originates in the brainwashing, and not in Allison herself.

Consider, then, the similarities between cases of coercion and manipulation, on the one hand, and the implications of the truth of determinism on the other. If determinism were true, it might be true that Allison chooses to walk her dog because of her beliefs and desires, but those beliefs and desires would themselves be the inevitable products of causal chains that began millions of years ago.

Thus, a determined agent is at most a source, but not the ultimate source, of her volitions. We can represent a formal version of the argument, called the "Origination Argument," as follows:. The Origination Argument is valid. So, in evaluating its soundness, we must evaluate the truth of its three premises. Premise 3 is clearly true, since for an agent to be an originator just is for that agent not to be ultimately determined by anything outside of herself.


  1. Free Will: Examples and Definition | Philosophy Terms!
  2. Robert Kane.
  3. Free Will and Buddhism.
  4. Ferguson: The Legacy?
  5. An Examination of Free Will and Buddhism?
  6. Free Will (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

Premise 2 of this argument is true by the definition of determinism. To reject the conclusion of the argument, one must therefore reject premise 1. Earlier we briefly noted one account of free will which implicitly denies premise 1, namely the hierarchical model of free will. One way of emphasizing the need for origination over-against such a hierarchical model is to embrace agent-causation. What other options are there? Two options are that volitions are uncaused, or only caused indeterministically.

It is difficult to see how an agent could be the originator or ultimate source of volitions if volitions are uncaused. For these reasons, some incompatibilists favor looking at the causation involved in volitions in a new light. Instead of holding that a volition is caused by a previous event either deterministically or indeterministically , these incompatibilists favor saying that volitions are caused directly by agents.

Proponents of agent-causation propose that agents are enduring substances that directly possess the power to cause volitions. Although many philosophers question whether agent-causation is coherent, if it were coherent, then it would provide support for premise 1 of the Origination Argument. The above way of delineating the Consequence and Origination Arguments may unfortunately suggest that the two kinds of arguments are more independent from each other than they really are.

A number of incompatibilists have argued that agents originate their actions in the way required by premise 1 of the Origination Argument if and only if they have a choice about their actions in the way suggested by the Consequence Argument. In other words, if my future volitions are not the sort of thing that I have a choice about, then I do not originate those volitions. And as the above arguments contend, the truth of causal determinism threatens both our control over our actions and volitions, and our ability to originate those same actions and volitions. For if causal determinism is true, then the distant past, when joined with the laws of nature, is sufficient for every volition that an agent makes, and the causal chains that lead to those volitions would not begin within the agent.

Thus, most incompatibilists think that having a choice and being a self-determiner go hand-in-hand. Robert Kane, for instance, argues that if agents have "ultimate responsibility" his term for what is here called "origination" or "self-determination" , then they will also have alternative possibilities open to them.

Thus, the two different kinds of arguments for incompatibilism may simply be two sides of the same coin [see Kane and ]. Having laid out representatives of the two most prominent arguments for incompatibilism, let's consider arguments in favor of compatibilism. In considering these kinds of arguments, it is pedagogically useful to approach them by using the arguments for incompatibilism. So, this section begins by considering ways that compatibilists have responded to the arguments given in the preceding section.

As noted above, the Origination Argument for incompatibilism is valid, and two of its premises are above dispute. Thus, the only way for the compatibilist to reject the conclusion of the Origination Argument is to reject its first premise. In other words, given the definition of determinism, compatibilists must reject that free will requires an agent being the originator or ultimate source of her actions.

But how might this be done? Most frequently, compatibilists motivate a rejection of the "ultimacy condition" of free will by appealing to either a hierarchical or reasons-responsive view of what the will is [see Frankfurt, and Fischer and Ravizza, ]. Similarly, if an agent has free will if she has the requisite level of reasons-responsiveness such that she would have willed differently had she had different reasons, ultimacy is again not required.

Thus, if one adopts certain accounts of the will, one has reason for rejecting the central premise of the Origination Argument. Compatibilists have a greater number of responses available to them with regard to the Consequence Argument. One way of understanding the N operator that figures in the Consequence Argument is in terms of having the ability to do otherwise. That is, to say that Allison has no choice about a particular action of hers is to say that she could not have performed a different action or even no action at all.

Incompatibilists can easily account for this ability to do otherwise. According to incompatibilists, an agent can be free only if determinism is false. Consider again the case of Allison. If determinism is false, even though Allison did choose to walk her dog, she could have done otherwise than walk her dog since the conjunction of P and L is not sufficient for her taking her dog for a walk. Compatibilists, however, can give their own account of the ability to do otherwise.

For them, to say that Allison could have done otherwise is simply to say that Allison would have done otherwise had she willed or chosen to do so [see, for example, Chisholm ]. Of course, if determinism is true, then the only way that Allison could have willed or chosen to do otherwise would be if either the past or the laws were different than they actually are. In other words, saying that an agent could have done otherwise is to say that the agent would have done otherwise in a different counterfactual condition. But saying this is entirely consistent with one way of understanding the ability to do otherwise.

Thus, these compatibilists are saying that Allison has the ability to do something such that, had she done it, either the past or the laws of nature would have been different than they actually are. Some compatibilists favor saying that agents have this counterfactual power over the past, while others favor counterfactual power over the laws of nature [Compare Lewis and Fischer ].

Regardless, adopting either strategy provides the compatibilist with a way of avoiding the conclusion of the Consequence Argument by denying either premise 4 or premise 6 of that argument. A second compatibilist response to the Consequence Argument is to deny the validity of the inference rule Beta the argument uses. While there are several approaches to this, perhaps the most decisive is the following, called the principle of Agglomeration [see McKay and Johnson ].

Using only the inference rules Alpha, Beta and the basic rule of logical replacement, one can show that. To see why 3 does not follow from 1 and 2, consider the case of a coin-toss. If the coin-toss is truly random, then Allison has no choice regarding whether the coin if flipped lands heads. Similarly, she has no choice regarding whether the coin again, if flipped lands tails. For purposes of simplicity, let us stipulate that the coin cannot land on its side and, if flipped, must land either heads or tails.

But Allison does have a choice about this—after all, she can ensure that the coin lands either heads or tails by simply flipping the coin. So Allison does have a choice about the conjunction of p and q. Since Alpha and the relevant rules of logical replacement in the transformation from N p and N q to N p and q are beyond dispute, Beta must be invalid.

Thus, the Consequent Argument for incompatibilism is invalid. Two other arguments for compatibilism build on the freedom requirement for moral responsibility. If one can show that moral responsibility is compatible with the truth of determinism, and if free will is required for moral responsibility, one will have implicitly shown that free will is itself compatible with the truth of determinism.

The first of these arguments for compatibilism rejects the understanding of having a choice as involving the ability to do otherwise mentioned above. While most philosophers have tended to accept that an agent can be morally responsible for doing an action only if she could have done otherwise, Harry Frankfurt has attempted to show that this requirement is in fact false. Frankfurt gives an example in which an agent does an action in circumstances that lead us to believe that the agent acted freely [Frankfurt ; for recent discussion, see Widerker and McKenna ].