It's too long to quote as well as I'd like, but the section on moral responsibility in the SEP article on empirical moral psychology includes as an example:
... Nahmias, Morris, Nadelhoffer and Turner (2009) [...] described agents preforming immoral behaviors in a “deterministic world” of the sort often described in philosophy classrooms. One variation read as follows:
Imagine that in the next century we discover all the laws of nature, and we build a supercomputer which can deduce from these laws of nature and from the current state of everything in the world exactly what will be happening in the world at any future time. It can look at everything about the way the world is and predict everything about how it will be with 100% accuracy. Suppose that such a supercomputer existed, and it looks at the state of the universe at a certain time on March 25th, 2150 C.E., twenty years before Jeremy Hall is born. The computer then deduces from this information and the laws of nature that Jeremy will definitely rob Fidelity Bank at 6:00 PM on January 26th, 2195. As always, the supercomputer’s prediction is correct; Jeremy robs Fidelity Bank at 6:00 PM on January 26th, 2195.
Subjects were then asked whether Jeremy was morally blameworthy. Most said yes, indicating that they thought an agent could be morally blameworthy even if his behaviors were entirely determined by natural laws. Consistent with the Woolfolk et al. results, it appears that the subjects’ judgments, at least those having to do with moral blameworthiness, were not governed by a commitment to incompatibilism.
It seems as if people might be counterpossibly reasoning in such a case, like so:
- If moral responsibility exists in some world but incompatibilist free will doesn't, then in such a world, people would still be morally responsible for their actions even without incompatibilist free will.
Suppose the antecedent proposition is a counterpossible premise. Take this to mean that moral responsibility does analytically/logically/what-have-you require incompatibilist free will, so that the antecedent, as a premise, refers to a scenario such that A is not A (or some other inconsistency/incoherence). But if "folk analysts" can reason in this way, then when they accept a hypothetical involving an apparent counterexample to a definition, is their acceptance based less on a sense of appropriate definitions and more on a willingness to think through counterpossible premises?
If we can reason from counterpossible definitions of concepts, how does this affect the methodology of conceptual analysis?