A Compatibilist Reply to the Consequence Argument

Tomis Kapitan

in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will

Second edition

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780195399691
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

A Compatibilist Reply to the Consequence Argument


This article provides a reply to the Consequence Argument. It notes that the argument's soundness depends upon how one interprets modal notions such as power or ability (to bring something about) and avoidability (the power to do otherwise). It explores these “practical modalities,” and shows how different interpretations of them yield different versions of the Consequence Argument. It examines some familiar compatibilist responses to the argument, including those based on conditional analyses of the ability to do otherwise and the response of David Lewis. An adequate response, the article argues, must identify an ability to act that is adequate for moral responsibility, yet invalidates the Consequence Argument.

Keywords: practical modalities; Consequence Argument; David Lewis; moral responsibility

Article.  10024 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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