Why Strawson’s Basic Argument Is Not Impressive: an Answer from Frankfurt, Christman and Ekstrom

Fei SONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

Galen Strawson defends his pessimist position with his famous “Basic Argument”. He attempts to prove that no agent can meet the demands for the ultimate moral responsibility. I argue that the Basic Argument is not impressive because it commits to a linear justification framework under which not only the notion of free will and moral responsibility but every notion would inevitably involve a vicious infinite regress. Surprisingly, this point has not been significantly addressed in the literature of Strawson’s Basic Argument. I scaffold my argument against “Basic Argument” by critically reviewing and comparing Frankfurt, Christman and Ekstrom’s approach to autonomy. I show that any approach, which commits to a linear justification framework, would inevitably involve an infinite regress problem. To make his argument more impressive, Strawson will have to show why he commits to a hierarchical justification framework in the Basic Argument in the first place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1595-1607
Number of pages13
JournalPhilosophia (United States)
Volume48
Issue number4
Early online date1 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.

Keywords

  • Basic argument
  • Coherentist justification
  • Free will
  • Infinite regression
  • Linear justification

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Why Strawson’s Basic Argument Is Not Impressive: an Answer from Frankfurt, Christman and Ekstrom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this