Harry Gordon Frankfurt, an American Philosopher

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 48
  • Published : January 19, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Harry Frankfurt defined the principle of alternate possibilities ( PAP ): A person is morally responsible for his actions if he couldn t have done otherwise . And he argued as follows 1) ( PAP) is true 2) determinism : every event must be the way it is and we couldn t do otherwise is also true Conclusion: ( PAP ) and determinism are not compatible

This argument is a valid argument but it is not a sound one because the author doesnot agree with the conclusion of the argument and since it is a valid argument so he decides that one of the premises is false and doubts the first premise . By giving us an example he will try to convince us that the (PAP) is false . He states that Jones does action (A) and that Black is some kind of manipulator that has the ability to manipulate Jones so he can inhibit Jones from performing actions other than (A) without Jones knowing that black exists . Black will manipulate only if Jones is going to decide to do otherwise , so we conclude that Jones couldn t have done otherwise because of Black , nevertheless Jones is morally responsible for action (A) because he did all on his own without the interference of Black. This example contradicts with definition of (PAP) . because jones is morally responsible even though he couldn t have done otherwise. Moreover I think it is wise to add an argument here :

1)Jones is morally responsible for his action (A)
2)Jones couldn t have done otherwise ( in other words his actions are determined ) We conclude that moral responsibility is compatible with determinisim .

One thing that I noticed from the example is that black s duty or job is to block or inhibit jones choices of actions other than action (A) . therefore the author admits that there are other choices of actions ( possible alternatives ) than action (A) , so possible alternatives is true but we have to find the right definition and application for it . Words : 356 
tracking img