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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 42, 2017

Markus E. Schlosser
Pages 277-300

Traditional Compatibilism Reformulated and Defended

Traditional compatibilism about free will is widely considered to be untenable. In particular, the conditional analysis of the ability to do otherwise appears to be subject to clear counterexamples. I will propose a new version of traditional compatibilism that provides a conditional account of both the ability to do otherwise and the ability to choose to do otherwise, and I will argue that this view withstands all the standard objections to traditional compatibilism. For this, I will assume with incompatibilists that the mere possession of a general ability to do otherwise is not sufficient for having the ability that is required for free will. This concession distinguishes the view from the traditional conditional analysis and from recent dispositional accounts of the ability to do otherwise. We will see that this concession enables a straightforward response to the counterexamples. This, in turn, will play a crucial role in my response to the strongest version of the consequence argument for incompatibilism.

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