Compatibilism and the Basic Argument
In his book Freedom Evolves (2003) and article (Taylor & Dennett, 2001), Dennett constructs a compatibilist theory of free will and responsibility. It is based on a conception of possibility that is broader than the libertarian conception, allowing it to be compatible with determinism. Dennett does not give much attention to the incompatibilist’s Basic Argument (also known as the Consequence Argument). This is to the dissatisfaction of Fischer (2003, 2005), a semicompatibilist who believes that while we have the kind of possibilities that are required for moral responsibility, the Basic Argument shows that the libertarian free will is still worth having—and incompatible with determinism. Dennett (2005) disagrees, and what follows is a quarrel about the burden of proof. Dennett maintains that there are too many versions of the Basic Argument and he cannot address them all. Fischer replies by giving two versions of the Basic Argument, to which Dennett does reply. I argue, however, that Dennett does not give convincing rebuttals. I will have a closer look at the arguments and suggest alternative ways in which compatibilists such as Dennett can make their defense stronger. Important shall be my conception of the ‘epistemic world’, which I claim is the relevant conception of the world when investigating the issue of free will. In section 2, I summarize the disagreement between Dennett and Fischer. I then, in section 3, propose ways to address both versions of the Basic Argument given by Fischer, which Dennett could use to make his position stronger.
|Series||Erasmus Student Journal of Philosophy (ESJP)|
|Journal||Erasmus Student Journal of Philosophy|
Ackermans, L. (2017). Compatibilism and the Basic Argument. Erasmus Student Journal of Philosophy, 12, 26–33. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/124779