Robert Kane

in The Significance of Free Will

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780195126563
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868506 | DOI:

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It is argued on historical grounds that two criteria for free will have led people to suppose it must be incompatible with determinism. The first and most commonly discussed of these criteria is the requirement of avoidability or “alternative possibilities” (AP) (that one who acts from free will must have the power to do otherwise or “could have done otherwise”). The second criterion is less commonly discussed, but I argue that it is the more important and central requirement for free will: “ultimate responsibility” (UR), being the ultimate originator or creator of one's own purposes, character, and achievements. This obscure, but pivotal, notion of ultimate responsibility, and the related notion of ultimate origination, are analyzed and their relation to the historical problem of free will is explained.

Keywords: alternative possibilities; avoidability; blameworthiness; character; control; origination; power; purpose; responsibility; ultimate responsibility

Chapter.  7219 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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