Peter van Inwagen contends that nonresponsibility transfers across deterministic relations. Suppose it does. If the facts of the past and the laws of nature entail every truth about what one does, and no one is even in part morally responsible for the past and the laws, then no one is even in part morally responsible for what one does. This argument, the Direct Argument, has drawn various critics, who have attempted to produce counterexamples to its core inference principle. This article considers two notable efforts, one by John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza and another by David Widerker. It shows that neither is sufficient to reject the Direct Argument. The article then proceeds to challenge the argument in a novel fashion. Van Inwagen has not given us good reason to think that the principle in question has an adequate anchor in our inferential practices, especially in light of the dialectical context with the compatibilist. Hence, it is not the compatibilists' burden to produce counterexamples to it. Rather, it is van Inwagen's burden to produce relevant confirming instances of it.
Michael McKenna; Saying Good-Bye to the Direct Argument the Right Way. The Philosophical Review 1 July 2008; 117 (3): 349–383. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00318108-2008-002
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