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Philosophia Christi

Volume 18, Issue 2, 2016

Symposium on the Trinity in Modern Context

Guillaume Bignon
Pages 469-480

The Distasteful Conditional Analysis
On Compatibilism and the Not-so-Wretched Counterfactual Ability to Do Otherwise

The principle of alternate possibilities states that a person cannot be morally responsible for what he has done, unless he had the “ability” to do otherwise. Incompatibilists typically add that determinism removes such ability, thereby excluding moral responsibility. In response, compatibilists have often affirmed something close, only interpreting the ability in question to be conditional, counterfactual, and hence compatible with determinism. This conditional analysis has been (loudly) criticized for being question-begging, unnecessary, and insufficient. This paper aims to refute these three objections, to uphold the coherence of the conditional analysis, along with (it is hoped) the integrity of its proponents.

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