Master of Arts (MA)


Philosophy and Religious Studies

Document Type



This work is devoted to criticisms of libertarian philosophers who attempt to provide an account of agent freedom that relies solely upon indeterminism. First, the philosophy of Robert Kane is examined. I argue that Kane's account does not succeed as an intelligible libertarian account of freedom and at best makes compatibilist accounts more intuitive. I next examine objections to indeterminist accounts as lodged by Galen Strawson, Thomas Nagel, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Double before turning to an analysis of a debate among Peter van Inwagen, John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza. Van Inwagen argues that we are seldom able to do other than we do but as long as we are in some way responsible for this inability then this does not entail that we can only rarely be held responsible. Typical cases are those in which an agent's character determines a particular action and the agent is responsible for having the character she has. Fischer and Ravizza argue that van Inwagen's account is empty because the character of an agent is formed at an early age by forces beyond her control. I conclude by arguing, pace Kane and van Inwagen, that even if an action is determined by an agent's character and the agent is responsible for having that character, we still may not be able to hold the agent responsible in a significant amount of cases. Additionally, I attempt to provide a compatibilist solution to the problem of free will in an attempt to show that the ability to do otherwise is not relevant to the problem of free will.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Husain Sarkar