A widely accepted moral intuition states that
(PAP) An agent is morally responsible for performing a given act A only if he could have avoided performing it. 1
In his seminal article “Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility, ” Harry Frankfurt (1969) has attacked this principle. 2 Central to his argument is the following assumption:
(FR) There may be circumstances in which a person performs some action which, although they make it impossible for him to avoid performing that action, they in no way bring it about that he performs it. (Frankfurt 1969: 830, 837)
Frankfurt contends that in a situation of the sort described in FR (call it “FRsituation”) the agent is morally responsible for what he did even though he could not have refrained from so acting. Hence, according to him, PAP is false. To establish FR, Frankfurt appeals to an example of the following sort 3:
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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: 323.
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