A Modest Classical Compatibilism

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The advent of Frankfurt-style counterexamples in the early 1970s posed a problem not merely for incompatibilists, but for compatibilists also. At that time compatibilists too were concerned to hold that the presence of alternative possibilities was necessary for moral responsibility. Such a classical compatibilism, I argue in this paper, should not have been left behind. I propose that we can use a Kratzer-style semantics of ‘can’ to model ‘could have done otherwise’ statements in such a way that the truth of such expressions is both (i) evidently consistent with determinism, and (ii) clearly such that Frankfurt-style counterexamples do not count as cases where the agent could not have done otherwise.

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