Chapter

Alternative Possibilities

Robert Kane

in The Significance of Free Will

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780195126563
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868506 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195126564.003.0004
Alternative Possibilities

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This chapter analyzes the latest arguments for and against the claim that determinism is incompatible with free will that rely on the first criterion for free will – alternative possibilities (AP), or the “power to do otherwise.” The chapter begins by considering the most discussed argument for the incompatibility of free will and determinism based on AP, called the “Consequence Argument” by Peter van Inwagen. Current debates about this Consequence Argument are thoroughly canvassed; and in the process, various views are critically discussed concerning the meaning of power, ability, “can,” “could have done otherwise,” laws of nature, changing the past, and other notions. Compatibilist analyses of these notions (analyses that would render free will compatible with determinism) are critically examined.

Keywords: ability; alternative possibilities; compatibilism; consequence argument; determinism; free will; incompatibilism; van Inwagen; power

Chapter.  9362 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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