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"I Couldn't Help It!"

Title: "I Couldn't Help It!": Essays on Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities.
Name(s): Capes, Justin A., author
Mele, Alfred, professor directing dissertation
Kelsay, John, university representative
Clarke, Randolph, committee member
McNaughton, David, committee member
Department of Philosophy, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
, Thesis advisor
, Committee member
, Degree grantor
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2011
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: According to the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP), a person is blameworthy for what he did only if he could have avoided doing it. This principle figures importantly in disputes about the relationship between determinism, divine foreknowledge, free will and moral responsibility, and has been the subject of considerable controversy for over forty years now. Proponents of the principle have devoted a good deal of energy and ingenuity to defending it against various objections. Surprisingly, however, they have devoted comparatively little effort to developing positive arguments for it, and, with few exceptions, the arguments they have proposed have received little, if any, critical attention. My dissertation is intended to help fill this gap in the literature on PAP. There are three main arguments for PAP. I critically evaluate each of these arguments, arguing that they are all unsuccessful. Where, then, does that leave PAP? I suggest that, in the absence of any further compelling arguments for or against the principle, debate over it is likely to end in dialectical stalemate. I conclude by highlighting several implications of this suggestion for recent debates about the metaphysics of moral responsibility.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-0083 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Philosophy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Degree Awarded: Summer Semester, 2011.
Date of Defense: Date of Defense: August 2, 2013.
Keywords: Free will, moral responsibility, alternative possibilities, blameworthiness
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: Alfred Mele, Professor Directing Dissertation; John Kelsay, University Representative; Randolph Clarke, Committee Member; David McNaughton, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Philosophy
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

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Capes, J. A. (2011). "I Couldn't Help It!": Essays on Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities. Retrieved from