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The Limits of "Limited Blockage" Frankfurt-Style Cases




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Traditionally, philosophers engaged in employing Frankfurt-style cases to challenge the Principle of Alternative Possibilities have mostly sought to construct scenarios that eliminate all an agent s alternatives. One of the chief difficulties for this traditional approach is that the closer one gets to eliminating absolutely all alternative possibilities the more it appears that agents' actions in these cases are causally determined. Limited blockage versions of these cases are intended to sidestep this worry by blocking all and only those pathways that constitute robust alternative possibilities while leaving open all other alternatives. I argue that, owing to the fact that omissions (and not just actions) are capable of constituting robust alternative possibilities, limited blockage cases cannot avoid collapsing into the more traditional sort of Frankfurt-style cases to which they are meant to be an alternative, and so are vulnerable to the very same concerns they are meant to avoid.

Conference Name

American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting

Conference Location

Seattle, WA

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