Carl Ginet

in The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199284221
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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The term libertarianism is standardly used in philosophical discussions of free will to refer to a thesis composed of two parts: incompatibilism and indeterminism-in-the-right-places. Incompatibilism is the claim that neither the existence of freely willed actions nor the existence of actions for which the agent is morally responsible is compatible with the truth of causal determinism. By a freely willed action (or, for short, a free action) the article means one such that it was open to the agent to take some alternative course instead of that action—to will a different action or to remain inactive—open in the sense that at the time nothing made it the case that the agent could not take the alternative course. An agent is morally responsible for her action (or for any other state of affairs) if and only if it would be right for those in a position to do so to hold her accountable for the action (or state of affairs).

Keywords: libertarianism; incompatibilism; indeterminism; free will; moral responsibility; causal determinism

Article.  13533 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Mind

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