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I am looking for critique or good counter-arguments specifically for the Frankfurt cases.

The Frankfurt cases are in turn:

counterexamples to the "principle of alternative possibilities", or PAP, which holds that an agent is morally responsible for an action only if that person could have done otherwise.

The Frankfurt cases tells us that an agent is morally responsible for his actions, even if he could not have done otherwise. Here is one example:

Donald is a Democrat and is likely to vote for the Democrats; in fact, only in one particular circumstance will he not: that is, if he thinks about the prospects of immediate American defeat in Iraq just prior to voting. Ms White, a representative of the Democratic Party, wants to ensure that Donald votes Democratic, so she secretly plants a device in Donald's head that, if activated, will force him to vote Democratic. Not wishing to reveal her presence unnecessarily, Ms White plans to activate the device only if Donald thinks about the Iraq War prior to voting. As things happen, Donald does not think about Iraq prior to voting, so Ms White thus sees no reason to activate the device, and Donald votes Democratic of his own accord. Apparently, Donald is responsible for voting Democratic although, owing to Ms. White's device, he lacks freedom to do otherwise.

I have problem with this...If determinism is true, then Donald would not be free to choose either way. His intentions, values and so forth are predetermined to begin with. Just like in the example above. Donald is predetermined to act a certain way, but seems to have free will - in other words it is a case of compatibilism. However, why would his ability to free will and intentions matter at all for moral responsibility if he is already predetermined to bring about a certain action?

  • Can you please include some evidence that this is not a copy-paste homework question? – Drux Sep 29 '14 at 9:19
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    And what evidence would that be? I cannot prove to you that this is not a homework question, and you cannot know if it is a homework question or not, no matter what the evidence. For all you know, all questions here may be homework questions - you cannot prove or disprove that. It is not a homework question, I am looking for good counter-arguments of the Frankfurt cases because I would like to read about that. – Grodan Sep 29 '14 at 9:30
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    I will try to change the wording of my question. Also, I will try to include evidence that this is not a homework question. – Grodan Sep 29 '14 at 9:41
  • @Drux I'm not sure that's a standard we've ever applied here. I can understand a moral reluctance to do homework help, but in terms of the mission of the site, whether a question is homework or not is irrelevant. – Chris Sunami Sep 29 '14 at 13:36
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    @ChrisSunami It's relevant for me in that I don't want to spend my time on work that has been assigned to students with the expectation that they should carry it out themselves and learn in the process. Whether you apply different standards is of course up to you. My comment was just that: an expression of my own view. – Drux Sep 29 '14 at 15:05

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