Moral Responsibility and the Flicker of Freedom, Oxford University Press, 2023. I argue that Frankfurt cases, far from being counterexamples to the principle of alternative possibilities, actually provide further confirmation of it.
Articles (please cite published versions)
The W-defense Defended, Ergo, forthcoming. I've changed my mind about the W-defense. Whereas I used to think the argument was no good, here I defended it against several objections (including my earlier objection). [penultimate draft]
Unavoidable Actions, Philosophical Explorations, forthcoming. I defend the possibility of unavoidable actions. [penultimate draft]
On Penance, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, forthcoming. I offer an account of what penance is and how it contributes to making amends for wrongdoing. [penultimate draft]
Libertarianism and Agentive Experience, Philosophical Issues, forthcoming. I assess the extent to which our experience of our own agents contributes to the case for libertarianism about free will. [penultimate draft]
Manipulation and Direct Arguments, in A Companion to Free Will, in A Companion to Free Will, eds. Joseph Keim
Campbell, Kristin M. Mickelson, and V. Alan White. Wiley-Blackwell (forthcoming). I provide an overview of the recent literature on manipulation and direct arguments for incompatibilism.
Hard Theological Determinism and Divine Forgiveness are Incompatible, in New Essays on Theological Determinism, eds. Leigh Vicens and Peter Furlong, Cambridge University Press (forthcoming). I argue that God couldn't be in a position to forgive sin if hard theological determinism is true.
Against (Modified) Buffer Cases, Philosophical Studies 179 (2022): 711-723. I defend the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) against (modified) buffer cases, which are supposed by some to be counterexamples to the principle.[journal link] [penultimate draft]
Does the Direct Argument Beg The Question? American Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming). The direct argument is among the most prominent arguments for the incompatibility of determinism and moral responsibility. Some critics of the argument have accused it, or certain defenses of its central premise, of begging the question. In this article, I respond to that accusation.
Strict Moral Liability, Social Philosophy and Policy 36, no. 1 (2019): 52-71. I consider a puzzle about strict moral liability (the idea that you can have moral duties to make restitution for harms for which you aren't morally to blame) and critically evaluate several possible solutions to it before offering one of my own. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
What the Consequence Argument is an Argument For Thought 8, no. 1 (2019): 50-56. I argue that even if the consequence argument for the incompatibility of free will and determinism is unsuccessful (as some recent objections to the argument seem to show), it still supports the claim that free will is incompatible with the thesis that everything we do is causally necessitated by factors beyond our control, which, I contend, is the more central incompatibilist thesis. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Rule A (with P. Roger Turner) Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99, no. 4 (2018): 580-595. Roger Turner and I argue that Rule A (which, stated informally, is the idea that no one can be morally responsible for necessary truths) is more important to recent theories of moral responsibility than people realize, and we defend it against some recent objections. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Death, Betrayal, and a Guardian Angel, Philosophical Papers 46, no. 2 (2017): 191-210. I raise an objection to Epicurus's "experience argument" for the conclusion that death isn't bad for the one who dies. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Frankfurt Cases: The Fine-grained Response Revisited (with Philip Swenson), Philosophical Studies 174, no. 4 (2017): 967-981. Philip Swenson and I defend a variation of the flicker of freedom response to Frankfurt-cases. Reflection on omissions plays a central role in our defense of the view. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Incompatibilism and the Transfer of Non-responsibility, Philosophical Studies 173, no. 6 (2016): 1477-1495. I develop some existing objections to the direct argument for the incompatibility of determinism and moral responsibility before developing a new version of the argument that's immune to those objections. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Blameworthiness and Buffered Alternatives, American Philosophical Quarterly 53, no. 3 (2016): 270-280. I offer a new response to buffer cases, which many believe to be among the most promising variants of Harry Frankfurt's influential attempt to show that a person can be morally responsible for what he did even if he didn't have any relevant alternative possibilities for action. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
The Flicker of Freedom: A Reply to Stump, Journal of Ethics18, no. 4 (2014): 427-435. I respond to Eleonore Stump's objection to the flicker of freedom response to Frankfurt-cases. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Gut-wrenching Choices and Blameworthiness, Journal of Value Inquiry 48, no 4 (2014): 577-585. This paper was for a special issue on moral responsibility, edited by Andrew Khoury. In it, I consider the implications of situations in which doing the right thing requires extraordinary sacrifice for a theory of blameworthiness. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Incompatibilist (Non-deterministic) Theories of Free Will (with Randolph Clarke), Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2013; updated 2017). Randolph Clarke and I survey incompatibilist theories of free will. [SEP link]
Mitigating Soft Compatibilism, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87, no. 3 (2013): 640-663. I articulate a new version of compatibilism about free will and determinism that, I claim, has some advantages over existing versions of the view. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Blameworthiness without Wrongdoing, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93, no. 3 (2012): 417-437. I argue that a person can be morally blameworthy for doing something that wasn't morally wrong. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Action, Responsibility, and the Ability to Do Otherwise, Philosophical Studies 158, no. 1 (2012): 1-15. I argue that unavoidable actions aren't impossible, in which case two recent defenses of the principle of alternative possibilities are unsuccessful. [pdf] [journal link] [penultimate draft]
The W-defense, Philosophical Studies150, no. 1 (2010): 61-77. I criticize several responses to David Widerker's "W-defense" of the principle of alternative possibilities before offering one of my own. [journal link] [penultimate draft] David Palmer has published a nice response here.
Can Downward Causation Save Free Will? Philosophia 38, no. 1 (2010): 131-142. No, it can't. [journal link]
Reviews (please cite published versions)
Aspects of Agency: Decisions, Abilities, Explanations, and Free Will by Alfred Mele (Oxford University Press, 2017), Journal of Moral Philosophy (forthcoming).
Free Will & Theism: Connections, Contingencies, and Concerns edited by Kevin Time and Dan Speak (Oxford University Press, 2016), International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84, no. 1 (2018): 153-157. [journal link] [penultimate draft]
Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will by David Hodgson (Oxford Universtiy Press, 2012), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2012) [NDPR link]