Philosophical Papers

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How to Make an Effort: A Reply to E. J. Coffman

Jing Zhu


In ‘On Making an Effort' E. J. Coffman develops what he takes to be a fairly serious problem for Robert Kane's positive theory of free choice, where the concept of efforts of will is pivotal. Coffman argues that the plausibility of Kane's libertarian account of free choice ‘is inversely proportional to the plausibility of a certain principle of agency' (p. 12). And since the latter is quite plausible, the former is therefore ‘at best fairly implausible' (p. 12). In what follows I will show that Coffman's objection is in fact misplaced. Kanean libertarianism not only is in accordance with the essence of the principles of personal responsibility that Coffman advocates, it also affords a more plausible and intelligible account of the sources of personal responsibility superior to the proposed principles.

Philosophical Papers Vol.33(1) 2004: 23-33
AJOL African Journals Online