The Direct Argument for Incompatibilism

Ira M. Schnall, David Widerker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses the direct argument for incompatibilism, an argument they think has significant dialectical advantages over other arguments for incompatibilism. The argument is direct because, unlike other incompatibilist arguments, it does not rest on any claims about what moral responsibility requires: It does not rely on the claim that responsibility requires the freedom to do otherwise nor does it rely on the claim that responsibility requires that people are the ultimate source of their actions. This directness is a dialectical advantage, the chapter claims, since many compatibilists dispute these two claims about what moral responsibility requires. After distinguishing the different incompatibilist arguments, the chapter critically evaluates some of the recent controversy surrounding the direct argument focusing on dialectical objections and alleged counterexamples. The chapter offers a partial defense of this argument, contending that many of the criticisms of it can be avoided
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLibertarian Free Will
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary debates
EditorsDavid Palmer
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780199860081
StatePublished - 2014


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