Thu Dec 15, 2016
|Graduate Research Colloquium
Do Intuitions (about Manipulation) Support Incompatibilism?
Abstract: Manipulation arguments are the most influential contemporary arguments aiming to show that moral responsibility is impossible in causally deterministic universes (in which all events at one time and the laws of nature render the probability of all future events 1.00). I argue these arguments fail on their own terms, and that investigation of actual intuitions makes matters even worse for incompatibilists. Experimental results show that, intuitively, having the probability of one’s actions rendered, e.g., 0.93 is not qualitatively different from having their probability rendered 1.00. It’s not causal determinism as such that intuitively threatens moral responsibility at all, but having one’s actions causally influenced (“determined,” even indeterministically) by things other than oneself with any sufficiently high probability. Ordinary intuitions not only fail to support incompatibilism, they open a plausible compatibilist diagnosis of where manipulation arguments, and perhaps incompatibilism more generally, go wrong.