NTU Philosophical Review

Issue 28, October 2004

Yih-Mei Huang
Pages 39-87

On Frankfurt-style Examples and the Principle of Alternative Possibilities

There is a important principle in the problem of free-will. This principle is called “the principle of alternate possibilities” (hereinafter : PAP) which states that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. Harry G. Frankfurt has presented a series of putative counterexamples to PAP. (“Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility” Journal of Philosophy 66,1969,pp.829-39) The “Frankfurt-style” examples have evoked considerable discussion. One general form of response to the examples is in the examples there are alternative possibilities. Our aim in this paper is to discuss that whether Frankfurt –style examples undermine PAP? (1) Are there alternative possibilities in Frankfurt–style examples? (2) Is an agent moral responsible for a decision although he could not have avoided making it? Or whether Fischer on alternative possibilities and responsibility is correct? (3) And we also discuss Van Inwagen’s three principles which is established the link between ability to do otherwise and responsibility.