I am a Philosophy Futures Postdoctoral Lecturer at NYU. I received my PhD in Philosophy from NYU in September 2020. I came to NYU from Oxford, where I received a BPhil in Philosophy and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).
My work defends novel conclusions about the metaphysics of action, and brings them to bear on issues in ethics and decision theory. I am also interested in early modern philosophy. My CV is here, and my email address is email@example.com . My teaching page is here.
According to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), someone is blameworthy or praiseworthy for doing something only if she was able to do otherwise. The strongest support for PAP comes from examples where some factor causes someone to do something and renders her unable not to do it. Harry Frankfurt’s famous counterexamples to PAP separate the causing from the ability-removing. In his examples (he claims), some factor renders a person unable not to do something without causing her to do it. Frankfurt claims that the person remains blameworthy in his examples, so PAP is false. However, Frankfurt’s examples remain controversial and PAP popular. This paper seeks to undermine PAP’s support by inverting Frankfurt’s trick. In my cases, some factor causes the agent to do something without making her unable to do otherwise. Still, the factor renders her blameless in a way that parallels the examples that seem to support PAP. It is false that the agent in my examples is blameless because unable to do otherwise: she’s able to do otherwise. The similarity between my examples and the PAP-supporting examples justifies the same conclusion about the latter. If I am right, my cases remove the strongest support for PAP.