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Title: Free Will and Abilities
Authors: Gadd, Nathan
Advisors: Rosen, Gideon A
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Consequence Argument
Dispositional Compatibilism
Free Will
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: My central aim in chapters 1 and 2 is to evaluate the Consequence Argument for incompatibilism about free will and determinism. In chapter 1, I present a modified version of the "modal argument" for incompatibilism and I develop a novel account of the argument's central, quasi-technical idiom <italic>being able to render a proposition false</italic>. I begin chapter 2 by considering two alleged counterexamples to rule <italic>BETA</italic>, the Consequence Argument's central rule of inference. I argue that these counterexamples fail, if the incompatibilist operates with a particular <italic>luck dependent</italic> notion of ability. Chapter 2 concludes with a discussion of David Lewis' influential reply to the Consequence Argument. I argue, in particular, that Michael Huemer's provocative objection to Lewis can be successfully deflected. In chapter 3, I take a closer look at what the compatibilism debate is really about and I examine the luck dependent notion of ability in more detail. I begin by focusing on Kadri Vivhelin's conception of the free will problem and I argue that it fails to isolate a unique problem. I conclude by sketching an alternative conception of the free will problem, one that sees the compatibilism dispute as a distinctively normative problem, a problem concerning the conditions under which an agent deserves to be harmed. In chapter 4, with the normative conception of the free will problem in view, I examine the dispositional theory of ability, a theory that has recently been used to defend compatibilism. After explaining the motivation for the dispositional account, I argue that Michael Fara's version of the theory fails to identify a form of ability that is necessary for moral responsibility. I then consider Michael Smith's alternative version of the dispositional theory. While Smith's view is promising, I argue that it faces serious challenges.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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