Can a Determinist Respect Herself?

TBA

1997

Freedom and Moral Responsibility: General and Jewish Perspectives

"Can a Determinist Respect Herself?", in C. H. Manekin and M. Kellner, eds., Freedom and Moral Responsibility: General and Jewish Perspectives. College Park: University of Maryland Press, 1997: 85-98.

External Link
Download

Compatibilism: The Argument From Shallowness

The compatibility question lies at the center of the free will problem. Compatibilists think that determinism is compatible with moral responsibility and the concomitant notions, while incompatibilists think that it is not. The topic of this paper is a particular form of charge against compatibilism: that it is 'shallow'. This is not the typical sort of argument against compatibilism: most of the debate has attempted to discredit compatibilism completely. The 'argument from shallowness' maintains that the compatibilists do have a case. However, this case is only partial, and shallow. This limited aim proves itself more powerful against compatibilists than previous all-or-nothing attempts.

2003

Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition

"Compatibilism: The Argument From Shallowness", Philosophical Studies 115 (2003 ): 257-282.

Control, Desert, and the Difference Between Distributive and Retributive Justice

Why is it that we think today so very differently about distributive and retributive justice? Why is the notion of desert so neglected in our thinking about distributive justice, while it remains fundamental in almost every account of retributive justice? I wish to take up this relatively neglected issue, and put forth two proposals of my own, based upon the way control functions in the two spheres.

2006

Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition

"Control, Desert, and the Difference Between Distributive and Retributive Justice", Philosophical Studies 131 (2006 ): 511-524.

Determinism and Prepunishment: The Radical Nature of Compatibilism

I argue that compatibilism cannot resist in a principled way the temptation to prepunish people. Compatibilism thus emerges as a much more radical view than it is typically presented and perceived, and is seen to be at odds with fundamental moral intuitions. The traditional compatibilist stance, according to which determinism does not really change anything, morally, is thereby 'shown' to be false.

2007

Analysis

"Determinism and Prepunishment: The Radical Nature of Compatibilism", Analysis 67 (2007 ): 347-349.

Did James Deceive Himself about Free Will?

I argue that William James indulged in self-deception with regard to the free will problem. My argument differs from previous ones in two ways: firstly, in pointing out specific features of James's philosophical writing with indicate the self-deception. Secondly, in presenting an integrated case, based not only on the much discussed issue of his "Will to Believe" position, but on James's autobiographical writing as well as on specific features of his philosophical writing. The conclusion is said to cast doubts about the "Will to Believe" position. Finally, I briefly consider the general issue of philosophical self-deception.

1992

Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society

"Did James Deceive Himself about Free Will?", Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society 28 (1992 ): 767-779.

Does the Free Will Debate Rest on a Mistake?

At the core of the free will debate lies the Compatibility Question', the question of whether there can be moral responsibility in a deterministic world; or in a world without libertarian free will. Compatibilists affirm and incompatibilists deny such a possibility. This question is almost invariably discussed under an Assumption of Exclusiveness', the assumption that one must be either a compatibilist or an incompatibilist. After giving various examples of the prevalence of this assumption in contemporary analytic philosophy, I attempt to show why it is mistaken. And I try to indicate how the acceptance of the Assumption of Exclusiveness' has hindered progress in the free will debate. I conclude by outlining a Dualistic' position with regard to the Compatibility Question', a position which attempts to extract the significant insights both of compatibilism and of hard determinism, while avoiding their inadequacies.

1993

Philosophical Papers

"Does the Free Will Debate Rest on a Mistake?", Philosophical Papers 22 (1993 ): 173-188.

Egalitarian Justice and the Importance of the Free Will Problem

Recent political philosophy has tended to neglect and discount the free will issue and this attitude has had important consequences, since the implications of the free will issue have a profound significance for our understanding of issues such as distributive justice. By discussing what I take to be the most intuitively coherent form that egalitarianism has taken, G.A. Cohen's, I attempt to show the crucial importance of the free will issue for the egalitarian agenda.

1997

Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel

"Egalitarian Justice and the Importance of the Free Will Problem", Philosophia 25 (1997 ): 153-161.

Fischer's Way: The Next Level

I present an analogy between analytic philosophy and a particular sort of computer game, and analyze some aspects of John Martin Fischer's 'My Way' in the light of this analogy. I set out the different levels of the free-will question, and explore how well Fischer does on them. On the compatibility level, he succeeds, in my view, in confronting the "metaphysical challenge" and the "manipulation challenge", but does less well with the "moral arbitrariness challenge". The compatibilist perspective captures only part of the moral and personal truth on the compatibility issue, and is shown to be inherently shallow. On the next levels we see that Fischer confronts particular dangers: the very virtues that make his minimalist position so resilient on the second (compatibility) level, render it too impoverished when it comes to the third, which asks about the very importance of taking moral responsibility seriously. Connecting to other positions (such as P. F. Strawson's version of naturalism) may be an imperative, but would also be risky. Likewise, on the fourth level, where we confront the difficulty of deciding how to deal with the previous conclusions, it is doubtful how well Fischer can do, given his previous philosophical commitments.

2008

Journal of Ethics: An International Philosophical Review

"Fischer's Way: The Next Level", in a symposium on John Martin Fischer's My Way, Journal of Ethics 12 (2008 ): 147-155.

Free Will Denial and Deontological Constraints

Recent free will denialism (FWD) tends to be optimistic, claiming that not only will the rejection of the belief in free will and moral responsibility not make matters dreadful, but that we are indeed better off without them. I address the denialist claim that FWD has the philosophical resources to effectively safeguard human rights and respect for persons in the context of punishment, even without belief in free will, moral responsibility and desert. I raise seven reasons for doubt concerning the ability of FWD to maintain deontological constraints. Together they present a strong case for doubting the optimism of FWD.

2019

Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society

"Free Will Denial and Deontological Constraints", in Elizabeth Shaw, Derk Pereboom, and Gregg D. Caruso, eds. Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society. New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.

Free Will and Fairness

Fairness is a central concept in contemporary discourse. "It isn't fair" is a familiar complaint, which can be heard whenever children play games, just as from politicians asking for "equal time" on television. Moral and political philosophy also takes fairness very seriously: John Rawls famously said that "Justice Is Fairness". In the free will debate, however, the notion of fairness has received much less attention. I wish to make some preliminary moves towards correcting this relative neglect. Exploring the connections between the concern for fairness and the free will problem should help us to deepen our understanding of this problem. I shall argue that there is more than one interpretation of fairness that is salient in the free will issue, and that explicating this should help us to see what aiming for fairness might mean in the free will context.

2008

Essays on Free Will and Moral Responsibility

"Free Will and Fairness", in Nick Trakakis and Daniel Cohen, eds., Essays on Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge: Scholars Publishing, 2008.

External Link
Download

Free Will and Illusion: Replies to Criticism

In my book 'Free Will and Illusion' (OUP, 2000) I argued for two radical proposals. The first, "fundamental dualism", is that if there is no libertarian free will we need to combine the partial but valid insights of both compatibilism and hard determinism. The second, "illusionism", is that we could not live adequately with a complete awareness of the truth about human freedom: illusion lies at the center of the human condition. In a symposium on my book, Yuval Eylon and Daniel Statman proposed objections to my proposals. After summarizing my arguments, I reply to these objections.

2003

Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly

"Free Will and Illusion: The Main Points", and "Free Will and Illusion: Replies to Criticism", Iyyun, 52 (2003 ): 167-170; 187-191 (in Hebrew).

Free Will and Illusion: The Main Points

I summarize the main points of my book 'Free Will and Illusion' (Oxford University Press, 2000). In part I of the book I examine the metaphysical and ethical structure of the free-will problem, examining the solutions that have traditionally been offered and formulating my own position. This lays the groundwork for examining the role of illusion, in part II. In the book I offer two radical proposals for understanding the implications of living in a world without libertarian free will (such as a deterministic world): first, the attempt to combine the two central rival alternatives, compatibilism and hard determinism. The partial but valid insights of both positions need to be integrated into a hybrid view, which I call "fundamental dualism." Secondly, I examine in some detail the complex role of illusion in our lives, insofar as they are affected by the issue of free will. (edited)

2003

Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly

"Free Will and Illusion: The Main Points", and "Free Will and Illusion: Replies to Criticism", Iyyun, 52 (2003 ): 167-170; 187-191 (in Hebrew).