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Manipulation and mitigation

Khoury, Andrew C. (2014) Manipulation and mitigation. Philosophical Studies, 168 (1). pp. 283-294. ISSN 0031-8116

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11098-013-0125-7


Manipulation arguments are commonly deployed to raise problems for compatibilist theories of responsibility. These arguments proceed by asking us to reflect on an agent who has been manipulated to perform some (typically bad) action but who still meets the compatibilist conditions of responsibility. The incompatibilist argues that it is intuitive that the agent in such a case is not responsible even though she met the compatibilist conditions. Thus, it is argued, the compatibilist has not provided conditions sufficient for responsibility. Patrick Todd has recently argued that incompatibilists have taken on a heavier dialectical burden than is necessary. Todd argues that incompatibilists need not argue that an agent in a manipulation case is not at all responsible, but only that her responsibility is mitigated in order to refute compatibilism. Hannah Tierney has responded to Todd’s argument by arguing that a compatibilist can admit that manipulation mitigates responsibility without eliminating it. I argue that Tierney’s response is unsuccessful on its own terms. But, I argue, Todd’s argument can be resisted by way of a parallel counter-argument for compatibilism. I argue that Todd’s argument for incompatibilism is no more powerful than my argument for compatibilism. And since Todd’s manipulation argument is offered as an objection to compatibilism, this amounts to a victory for the compatibilist; the objection is defused.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2013 11:09
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2024 22:12

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