Ingmar Persson

in The Retreat of Reason

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780199276905
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603198 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


If the fact that you could have acted otherwise is to be given a conditional analysis as that you could have acted otherwise if you had decided to do so, the ‘if’-clause must be understood as presupposing that you could have decided to act otherwise in some suitable sense. This chapter suggests that this sense is an epistemic one, supplied by the principled unpredictability of decisions defended in chapter 31. This epistemic possibility of deciding otherwise is incompatible with irresistible and compulsive desires whose strength is independent of the thrust of the agent’s reasons. An account of coercion is then added to the sketch of a direct responsibility. The chapter ends by pointing out that, even though compatibilism can account for direct responsibility, there is still the question whether we can have ultimate responsibility.

Keywords: coercion; compatibilism; compulsive desires; conditional analysis; direct responsibility; irresistible desires; ultimate responsibility

Chapter.  8983 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.