Victor Reppert said:Victor,
I wrote my master's thesis on free will. It still seems to me that the distinction between the freedom of action of freedom of choice means that we can ask the question "was the choice free" independent of any consideration of whether in a counterfactual situation, a person could have carried out their action had they chosen otherwise. PAP, as I see it, applies to choices, not actions.
I must ask myself, is it that easy to refute Frankfurt arguments? And maybe you guys can help me see why it isn't that easy. Still, I think the examples will all sooner or later founder on this problem.
This kind of philosophical debate is closer to my area of specialization, certainly, than biblical exegesis.
5/10/2008 8:30 PM
i) Let me give you four definitions of PAP from prominent libertarians who are *specialists* in this field (quotes taken from Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibility: Essays on the Importance of Alternative Possibilities, eds. Widerker & Mckenna, Ashgate, 2006):
"PAP: An agent is morally responsible for performing a given action A only if he could have avoided performing it" (Widerker, p.53).
"PAP: An agent S is morally responsible for its being the case that p only if S could have made it not the case that p." (Ginet, 75).
"Frankfirt-style cases (FSCs) were introduced to undermine 'the principle of alternative possiblities' or PAP. They were designed to show that a person could be morally responsible even though the person had no alternative possibilities (APs) or could not have done otherwise." (Kane, p. 91, see fn. 4 for an elaboration. Kane agrees that in *particular* cases FSCs show that an agent was morally responsible even though he could not have done otherwise just in case he had some libertarian free choices in his past that shaped his character.)
"PAP3: A person is (libertarian) free in what he has done (= A) only if there is something he did (= B) which is such that (i) he could have done otherwise than B and (ii) it is (at least in part) in virtue of his doing B that he is (libertarian) free in doing A" (Hunt, p.167).
ii) So, we must ask why you go against the experts on your own side?
iii) We should note that there are libertarians who think Frankfurt has made his point. Some would be:
a) W.L. Craig
b) Dave Hunt (the philosopher)
c) Robert Kane (for particular cases)
iv) Did you even read my links? Your post at DI implies they left with the above questions unanswered. But Allen concluded in one I gave you: "Thus Frankfurt cases can be constructed involving mental acts such as deciding" (Alan, Re-examining Frankfurt-Cases, pp. 9-13).
v) Apropos (iv), say an omnipotent fiend wants you to kill your wife. He knows you have chosen to do so. He lets you proceed, but just in case you have a change in heart, he makes sure that he will block any choice to do otherwise. It just so happens that you never change your mind. You're resolved. You couldn't have chosen otherwise, though. You hack your wife. Are you not responsible?
vi) The control needed for moral responsibility as defined by libertarianism hasn't been able to answer the luck objection. So it would appear that the presuppositions inherent in libertarian definitions of PAP undercut moral responsibility. So, your "choice" constraint just might actually undermine responsibility (assuming you're using an agent-causation model).
vii) Since God is essentially holy, perfectly good, he cannot choose (or do) evil.
So on your score you just removed God as a proper subject of ascriptions of praise. Can't praise a "robot" for doing what its nature determines it will do.