Será a análise condicional uma resposta satisfatória ao incompatibilismo?


  • Luís Veríssimo
  • Domingos Faria


Consequence Argument, free will, determinism, compatibilism/incompatibilism, conditional analysis, masked ability


Peter van Inwagen (1983) uses the Consequence Argument to support the idea that free will is incompatible with determinism. One of the most disputed versions of this argument is its modal version. In order to formulate this version of the argument, van Inwagen adds to the traditional modal operators (necessity and possibility) the “N” operator, which represents the expression «it’s not up to us that…». According to van
Inwagen, the N operator has two fundamental inference rules: rule (α) and rule (β), which allow him to derive the incompatibilist thesis from a set of apparently uncontroversial premises. However, the compatibilist Thomas Flint (1987) suggests that using the so called “conditional analysis” it’s possible to find a counterexample to rule (β) in the Consequence Argument itself. In this paper, we intend to show that this objection is unsuccessful, because rule (β) seems to be more plausible than the conditional analysis itself. In order to support this idea, we will follow two strategies. First, we will follow Roderick M. Chisholm’s (1964) argument in order to show that if we take the conditional analysis seriously we are wrongly committed to think that the meaning of: a) «S could have done otherwise» is to be understood in the following way: b) «If S had chosen to act otherwise, he could have acted otherwise». Secondly, we will appeal to Michael Fara’s (2008) reply to the conditional analysis, according to which it doesn’t provide proper understanding of the notion of “ability” at stake in this discussion, because it doesn’t provide an explanation for cases in which an ability doesn’t manifest because it’s masked.