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The Agential Perspective: A Hard-Line Reply to the Four-Case Manipulation Argument
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7425-3041
2019 (English)In: Philosophical Studies, ISSN 0031-8116, E-ISSN 1573-0883Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

One of the most influential arguments against compatibilism is Derk Pereboom’s four-case manipulation argument. Professor Plum, the main character of the thought experiment, is manipulated into doing what he does; he therefore supposedly lacks moral responsibility for his action. Since he is arguably analogous to an ordinary agent under determinism, Pereboom concludes that ordinary determined agents lack moral responsibility as well. I offer a hard-line reply to this argument, that is, a reply which denies that this kind of manipulation is responsibility undermining. I point out that fully fleshed-out manipulated characters in fiction can seem morally responsible for what they do. This is plausibly because we identify with such characters, and therefore focus on their options and the reasons for which they act rather than the manipulation. I further argue that we ought to focus this way when interacting with other agents. We have no reason to trust the incompatibilist intuitions that arise when we regard manipulated agents from a much more detached perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019.
Keywords [en]
The four-case manipulation argument, Compatibilism Incompatibilism, Moral responsibility, Intuitions
National Category
Ethics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-167753DOI: 10.1007/s11098-019-01292-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-167753DiVA, id: diva2:1390772
Available from: 2020-02-03 Created: 2020-02-03 Last updated: 2020-02-18

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