Relative Modality and the Ability to Do Otherwise

Weir, Ralph (2016) Relative Modality and the Ability to Do Otherwise. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy . ISSN 1845-8475

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It is widely held that for an action to be free it must be the case that the agent can do otherwise. A major dispute between compatibilists and incompatibilists concerns what this ability amounts to. Two articles published within the last year offer novel perspectives on the debate by employing Angelika Kratzer’s semantics of ‘can’. Alex Grzankowksi proposes that Kratzer’s semantics are favourable to incompatibilism because on a natural application they make valid a version of the consequence argument. Christian List however argues that Kratzer’s semantics make natural a novel form of compatibilism. I argue that List’s compatibilist application of Kratzer’s semantics faces problems not faced by Grzankowski’s incompatibilist employment of them. On the other hand I argue that Kratzer’s semantics make Grzankowski’s version of the consequence argument valid only at the cost of rendering it dialectically useless.

Additional Information:The final published version of this article can be accessed online at
Keywords:modality, free will, semantics
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V510 Metaphysics
Divisions:College of Arts
ID Code:33703
Deposited On:17 Oct 2018 09:12

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