OF FREEDOM AND
DETERMINISM, the doctrine that the nonrelational facts of the past and the laws of nature entail one unique future, has been thought by many to be incompatible with freedom and moral responsibility for reasons that include the following. Traditionally, the most influential view about the sort of freedom required for responsibility postulates the availability, at various points in our lives, of genuinely accessible alternative possibilities. But there are powerful arguments for the conclusion that determinism expunges such possibilities and thus undermines the right sort of freedom for responsibility. 1 A second concern clusters around the idea that there is no room for “authentic agency” in the world if determinism is true. There are different ways to crystallize this somewhat amorphous idea. According to one prominent view, an agent is morally responsible for her behavior only if the antecedent actional elements, like her values, desires, or beliefs that cause that behavior, are “truly her own”; they are not, for example, the product of direct, surreptitious implantation. But it has been claimed that if determinism is true, this “authenticity” condition can never be met because our springs of action are ultimately the product of events long before our births and hence products of external sources over which we have no control. (See, for example, G. Strawson 1986; Kane 1995, 1996a and b; Pereboom 1995, 2001)
Compatibilist theories all share the common presumption that determinism does not undermine freedom and responsibility. The success of a compatibilist
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Publication information: Book title: The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Contributors: Robert Kane - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 202.
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