Hannah Tierney Publishes Two New Papers

Oct. 1, 2013

Hannah Tierney has published a new paper in Philosophical Studies.

"A Maneuver around the Modified Manipulation Argument", Philosophical Studies vol. 165 no. 3 (September 2013), pp. 753-763.

Abstract: In the recent article "A new approach to manipulation arguments," Patrick Todd seeks to reframe a common incompatibilist form of argument often leveraged against compatibilist theories of moral responsibility. Known as manipulation arguments, these objections rely on cases in which agents, though they have met standard compatibilist conditions for responsibility, have been manipulated in such a way that they fail to be blameworthy for their behavior. Traditionally, in order to get a manipulation argument off the ground, an incompatibilist must illustrate that a manipulated agent is not at all responsible for her behavior. Todd argues that this is an unnecessarily heavy burden; the incompatibilist need only show that the presence of manipulation mitigates ascriptions of responsibility. Though innovative, Todd fails to present his modified manipulation argument in a way that poses a true threat to the compatibilist. In fact, by introducing a scalar conception of moral responsibility, Todd gives the compatibilist the tools necessary to better handle the incompatibilist's original manipulation argument.

Hannah also published a co-authored paper with several other members of the philosophy department.

Hannah Tierney, Chris Howard, Victor Kumar, Trevor Kvaran, and Shaun Nichols, "How Many of Us Are There?", in Justin Sytsma (ed.) Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Mind. Continuum Press.

Abstract: In trying to chart the contours of our folk conceptions, philosophy often proceeds with an assumption of monism. One attempts to provide a single account of the notion of free will, reference, or the self. The assumption of monism provides an important constraint for theory building. And it is a sensible starting assumption. However, it's possible that for some philosophically interesting notions, people operate with multiple different notions. We will argue that in the case of personal identity, monism does not capture folk commitments concerning personal identity. Many of our identity-related practical concerns seem to be grounded in distinct views of what is involved in personal identity. Furthermore, both empirical evidence and philosophical thought experiments indicate that judgments about personal identity are regimented by two (or more) different criteria. In the second half of the paper, we will consider reasons for thinking that the folk commitment to pluralism should be rejected or overhauled. We will offer a tentative case in favor of a pluralist philosophical view about personal identity.