•  2423
    Four Views on Free Will
    with John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, and Manuel Vargas
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2007.
    Focusing on the concepts and interactions of free will, moral responsibility, and determinism, this text represents the most up-to-date account of the four major positions in the free will debate. Four serious and well-known philosophers explore the opposing viewpoints of libertarianism, compatibilism, hard incompatibilism, and revisionism The first half of the book contains each philosopher’s explanation of his particular view; the second half allows them to directly respond to each other’s arg…Read more
  •  1157
    As philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism continue to gain traction, we are likely to see a fundamental shift in the way people think about free will and moral responsibility. Such shifts raise important practical and existential concerns: What if we came to disbelieve in free will? What would this mean for our interpersonal relationships, society, morality, meaning, and the law? What would it do to our standing as human beings? Would it cause nihilism and despair as som…Read more
  •  818
    Examines the relevance of empirical studies of responsibility judgments for traditional philosophical concerns about free will and moral responsibility. We argue that experimental philosophy is relevant to the traditional debates, but that setting up experiments and interpreting data in just the right way is no less difficult than negotiating traditional philosophical arguments. Both routes are valuable, but so far neither promises a way to secure significant agreement among the competing partie…Read more
  •  586
    Defending hard incompatibilism
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1): 228-247. 2005.
    In _Living Without Free Will_, I develop and argue for a view according to which our being morally responsible would be ruled out if determinism were true, and also if indeterminism were true and the causes of our actions were exclusively events.1 Absent agent causation, indeterministic causal histories are as threatening to moral responsibility as deterministic histories are, and a generalization argument from manipulation cases shows that deterministic histories indeed undermine moral responsi…Read more
  •  499
    Determinism al dente
    Noûs 29 (1): 21-45. 1995.
  •  410
    Living Without Free Will
    Cambridge University Press. 2001.
    Most people assume that, even though some degenerative or criminal behavior may be caused by influences beyond our control, ordinary human actions are not similarly generated, but rather are freely chosen, and we can be praiseworthy or blameworthy for them. A less popular and more radical claim is that factors beyond our control produce all of the actions we perform. It is this hard determinist stance that Derk Pereboom articulates in Living Without Free Will. Pereboom argues that our best scien…Read more
  •  368
    Free Will Skepticism and Bypassing
    In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, Vol. 4, Mit Press. 2014.
    Discusses Eddy Nahmias' “Is Free Will an Illusion?”
  •  256
    Living without free will: The case for hard incompatibilism
    In Robert H. Kane (ed.), Journal of Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 477-488. 2002.
  •  255
    Robust nonreductive materialism
    Journal of Philosophy 99 (10): 499-531. 2002.
  •  229
    Is Our Conception of Agent-Causation Coherent?
    Philosophical Topics 32 (1/2): 275-286. 2004.
  •  229
    Kant on Transcendental Freedom
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3): 537-567. 2006.
    Transcendental freedom consists in the power of agents to produce actions without being causally determined by antecedent conditions, nor by their natures, in exercising this power. Kant contends that we cannot establish whether we are actually or even possibly free in this sense. He claims only that our conception of being transcendentally free involves no inconsistency, but that as a result the belief that we have this freedom meets a pertinent standard of minimal credibility. For the rest, it…Read more
  •  226
    This critical notice highlights the important contributions that Eric Watkins's writings have made to our understanding of theories about causation developed in eighteenth-century German philosophy and by Kant in particular. Watkins provides a convincing argument that central to Kant's theory of causation is the notion of a real ground or causal power that is non-Humean (since it doesn't reduce to regularities or counterfactual dependencies among events or states) and non-Leibnizean because it d…Read more
  •  219
    The disappearing agent objection to event-causal libertarianism
    Philosophical Studies (1): 1-11. 2012.
    The question I raise is whether Mark Balaguer’s event-causal libertarianism can withstand the disappearing agent objection. The concern is that with the causal role of the events antecedent to a decision already given, nothing settles whether the decision occurs, and so the agent does not settle whether the decision occurs. Thus it would seem that in this view the agent will not have the control in making decisions required for moral responsibility. I examine whether Balaguer’s position has the …Read more
  •  184
    Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life
    Oxford University Press. 2014.
    Derk Pereboom articulates and defends an original, forward-looking conception of moral responsibility. He argues that although we may not possess the kind of free will that is normally considered necessary for moral responsibility, this does not jeopardize our sense of ourselves as agents, or a robust sense of achievement and meaning in life
  •  171
    The claim that moral responsibility for an action requires that the agent could have done otherwise is surely attractive. Moreover, it seems reasonable to contend that a requirement of this sort is not merely a necessary condition of little consequence, but that it plays a decisive role in explaining an agent's moral responsibility for an action. For if an agent is to be blameworthy for an action, it seems crucial that she could have done something to avoid this blameworthiness. If she is to be …Read more
  •  166
    A hard-line reply to the multiple-case manipulation argument
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1): 160-170. 2008.
    No Abstract
  •  164
    Hard incompatibilism and its rivals
    Philosophical Studies 144 (1). 2009.
    In this article I develop several responses to my co-authors of Four Views on Free Will. In reply to Manuel Vargas, I suggest a way to clarify his claim that our concepts of free will and moral responsibility should be revised, and I question whether he really proposes to revise the notion of basic desert at stake in the debate. In response to Robert Kane, I examine the role the rejection of Frankfurt-style arguments has in his position, and whether his criticism of my version of this argument i…Read more
  •  162
    The metaphysics of irreducibility
    Philosophical Studies 63 (August): 125-45. 1991.
    During the 'sixties and 'seventies, Hilary Putnam, Jerry Fodor, and Richard Boyd, among others, developed a type of materialism that eschews reductionist claims.1 In this view, explana- tions, natural kinds, and properties in psychology do not reduce to counterparts in more basic sciences, such as neurophysiology or physics. Nevertheless, all token psychological entities-- states, processes, and faculties--are wholly constituted of physical entities, ultimately out of entities over which microph…Read more
  •  157
    A traditional concern for determinists is that the epistemic conditions an agent must satisfy to deliberate about which of a number of distinct actions to perform threaten to conflict with a belief in determinism and its evident consequences. I develop an account of the sort that specifies two epistemic requirements, an epistemic openness condition and a belief in the efficacy of deliberation, whose upshot is that someone who believes in determinism and its evident consequences can deliberate wi…Read more
  •  154
    A Non-Punitive Alternative to Punishment
    In Farah Focquaert, Bruce Waller & Elizabeth Shaw (eds.), Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy and Science of Punishment, Routledge. 2020.
  •  149
    Meaning in life without free will
    Philosophic Exchange 33 (1): 19-34. 2002.
    In a recent article Gary Watson instructively distinguishes two faces or aspects of responsibility. The first is the self-disclosing sense, which is concerned centrally with aretaic or excellence-relevant evaluations of agents. An agent is responsible for an action in this respect when it is an action that is inescapably the agent’s own, if, as a declaration of her adopted ends, it expresses what the agent is about, her identity as an agent. An action for which the agent is responsible in this s…Read more
  •  136
    Stoic Psychotherapy in Descartes and Spinoza
    Faith and Philosophy 11 (4): 592-625. 1994.
    The psychotherapeutic theories of Descartes and Spinoza are heavily influenced by Stoicism. Stoic psychotherapy has two central features. First, we have a remarkable degree of voluntary control over our passions, and we can and should exercise this control to keep ourselves from having any irrational passions at all. Second, the universe is determined by the providential divine will, and in any situation we can and should align ourselves with this divine will in order to achieve equanimity. Wher…Read more
  •  136
    Free Will, Love and Anger
    Ideas Y Valores 58 (141): 169-189. 2009.
    I have argued we are not free in the sense required for moral responsibility, while at the same time a conception of life without this type of free will would not be devastating to morality or to our sense of meaning in life, and in certain respects it may even be beneficial (cf. Pereboom 2001). In ..
  •  130
    Defending hard incompatibilism again
    In Nick Trakakis & Daniel Cohen (eds.), Essays on Free Will and Moral Responsibility, Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 1--33. 2008.
  •  128
    Kant’s Amphiboly
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 73 (1): 50-70. 1991.
  •  123
    Kant''s claim that the justification of transcendental philosophy is a priori is puzzling because it should be consistent with (1) his general restriction on the justification of knowledge, that intuitions must play a role in the justification of all nondegenerate knowledge, with (2) the implausibility of a priori intuitions being the only ones on which transcendental philosophy is founded, and with (3) his professed view that transcendental philosophy is not analytic. I argue that this puzzle c…Read more
  •  123
    Further thoughts about a Frankfurt-style argument
    Philosophical Explorations 12 (2). 2009.
    I have presented a Frankfurt-style argument (Pereboom 2000, 2001, 2003) against the requirement of robust alternative possibilities for moral responsibility that features an example, Tax Evasion , in which an agent is intuitively morally responsible for a decision, has no robust alternative possibilities, and is clearly not causally determined to make the decision. Here I revise the criterion for robustness in response to suggestions by Dana Nelkin, Jonathan Vance, and Kevin Timpe, and I respond…Read more
  •  113
    On Alfred Mele's free will and luck
    Philosophical Explorations 10 (2). 2007.
    I argue that agent-causal libertarianism has a strong initial rejoinder to Mele's luck argument against it, but that his claim that it has yet to be explained how agent-causation yields responsibility-conferring control has significant force. I suggest an avenue of response. Subsequently, I raise objections to Mele's criticisms of my four-case manipulation argument against compatibilism