The Direct Argument is a Prima Facie Threat to Compatibilism

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In the early 1980’s van Inwagen presented the Direct Argument for the incompatibility of determinism with moral responsibility. In the course of the ensuing debate, Fischer, McKenna and Loewenstein have replied, each in their own way, that versions of the Direct Argument do not pose even a prima facie threat to compatibilism. Their grounds were that versions of the Direct Argument all use (some version of) the “Transfer NR” inference rule in a dialectically problematic way. I rebut these replies here. By so doing, I hope to set the Direct Argument debate on a more fruitful path.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1791-1817
Number of pages27
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 16 Sep 2020


  • Compatibilism
  • Determinism
  • Dialectics
  • Direct argument
  • Free will

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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