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    ‘Can’ and the Consequence Argument

    Grzankowski, Alex (2014) ‘Can’ and the Consequence Argument. Ratio 27 (2), pp. 173-189. ISSN 0034-0006.

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    The consequence argument is a powerful incompatibilist argument for the conclusion that, if determinism is true, what one does is what one must do. A major point of controversy between classical compatibilists and incompatibilists has been over the use of ‘can’ in the consequence argument. Classical compatibilists, holding that abilities to act are dispositions, have argued that ‘can’ should be analyzed as a conditional. But such an analysis of ‘can’ puts compatibilists in a position to grant the premises of the argument while denying the conclusion. Incompatibilists remain unconvinced, and this corner of the debate over free will has reached a dialectical impasse. The present paper has two aims. First, to offer a new dialectical point of entry into this dispute on behalf of incompatibilists. By making use of Angelika Kratzer's influential semantic work on ‘can’ and ‘must’, I argue that incompatibilists are in a position to offer a plausible, positive treatment of ‘can’ that favors their view. Second, even if one does not think incompatibilism is thereby true (for as we shall see there are places to push back), the Kratzer semantics yields a number of important insights concerning the consequence argument that should be of broad interest.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2018 06:59
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:40


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