PHIL 100_Frankfurt's Story.docx

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PHIL 100
Peter Graham

PHIL 100 The Principle of Alternate Possibilities and Frankfurt’s Counterexample The Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP): A person, S, is morally responsible for doing something only if S could have done otherwise than do it. Frankfurt’s Story “Suppose someone -- Black, let us say -- wants Jones to perform a certain action. Black is prepared to go to considerable lengths to get his way, but he prefers to avoid showing his hand unnecessarily. So he waits until Jones is about to make up his mind what to do, and he does nothing unless it is clear to him (Black is an excellent judge of such things) that Jones is going to do something other than what he wants him to do. If it does become clear that Jones is going to decide to do something else, Black takes effective steps to ensure that Jones decides to do, and that he does do, what he wants him to do. Whatever Jones’s initial preferences and inclinations, then, Black will have his way. What steps will Black take, if he believes he must take steps, in order to ensure that Jones decides and acts as he wishes?… Let Black pronounce a terrible threat, and in this way both force Jones to perform the desired action and prevent him from performing a forbidden one. Let Black give Jones a potion, or put him under hypnosis, and in some such way as these generate in Jones an
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