Frankfurt : The Principle Of Alternative Possibilities ( Pap )

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Zhiyuan Li Philosophy 3000 Frankfurt Without Counter-Examples: An Alternative Possibility Harry Frankfurt (1969) argues that the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP): (PAP) a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise (829) is false, because there are cases where a person is morally responsible for what she has done even if she could not have done otherwise (835-6). Call such cases Frankfurt-style cases. A lot of literature thereafter has been targeted on these Frankfurt-style cases, particularly whether it’s really possible to construct them. Among critics of Frankfurt, David Widerker (2003) takes one step further and he grants, for the sake of his argument, that it is possible to construct Frankfurt-style cases ; however, he argues that even so, Frankfurt’s argument still fails because there are counter-examples to Frankfurt-style cases, which are in favor of PAP (60-2). This paper is a defense of Frankfurt. Having said that, however, I think Widerker has developed a very strong criticism of Frankfurt which in some sense takes away his prima facie intuition. Therefore, it seems to me not enough for defenders of Frankfurt to respond by just refuting the counter-examples Widerker provides against Frankfurt-style cases – they must somehow bring their intuition back. This is exactly what I want to pursue in this paper. I will argue that Frankfurt’s argument may be reconstructed in an alternative way, which does not depend
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