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According to the most popular versions of the flicker defense, Frankfurt-style cases fail to undermine the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) because agents in these cases are (directly) morally responsible not for making the decisions they make but for making these decisions on their own, which is something they could have avoided doing. Frankfurt defenders have primarily focused on trying to show that the alternative possibility of refraining from making the relevant decisions on their own is not a robust alternative, while generally granting that this alternative cannot easily be eliminated from successful cases of this sort. In a recent issue of this journal, Stockdale (2022) attempts to sidestep the debate concerning robustness and develops a novel kind of Frankfurt-style case in which agents are unable to avoid making the relevant decisions on their own. The fundamental problem with Stockdale’s argument is that it hinges on an implausible conception of acting on one’s own. I help clarify the pertinent sense of what it means to do a thing on one’s own in this context and show that these new cases are unable to overcome the targeted versions of the flicker defense of PAP.


This article was originally published in Journal of Ethics in 2023.

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