Alexander Strauch Mp3 (Biblical Leadership)


This is a lecture on Church Leadership by Alexander Strauch (author of Biblical Eldership).

Session one
Session two
Session three
Session four

Other books by Strauch.

A review of Biblical Eldership by Paul Alexander

(HT: VitZ)


Answers in Genesis e-Books



The Answers Book

Chapter 1: Does God exist?
Chapter 2: Did God really take six days?
Chapter 3: What about the ‘gap’ and ‘ruin-reconstruction’ theories?
Chapter 4: How about carbon dating?
Chapter 5: How can we see distant stars in a young universe?
Chapter 6: How did bad things come about?
Chapter 7: What about similarities and other such arguments for evolution?
Chapter 8: Cain’s wife—who was she?
Chapter 9: Were the ‘sons of God’ and/or nephilim extraterrestrials?
Chapter 10: Was the Flood global?
Chapter 11: What about continental drift?
Chapter 12: Noah’s Flood—what about all that water?
Chapter 13: How did the animals fit on Noah’s Ark?
Chapter 14: How did freshwater and saltwater fish survive the Flood?
Chapter 15: Where are all the human fossils?
Chapter 16: What about the Ice Age?
Chapter 17: How did animals get from the Ark to places such as Australia?
Chapter 18: How did all the different ‘races’ arise (from Noah’s family)?
Chapter 19: What happened to the dinosaurs?
Chapter 20: What can I do?


Frozen in Time: The Woolly Mammoth, the Ice Age, and the Bible

Chapter 1: Frozen mammoth carcasses in Siberia
Chapter 2: Why live in Siberia?
Chapter 3: The mystery of the Ice Age
Chapter 4: A mammoth number of mammoth hypotheses
Chapter 5: The extinction wars
Chapter 6: The multiplication of ice age theories
Chapter 7: The Genesis flood caused the Ice Age
Chapter 8: The snowblitz
Chapter 9: The peak of the Ice Age
Chapter 10: Catastrophic melting
Chapter 11: Only one Ice Age
Chapter 12: Do ice cores show many tens of thousands of years?
Chapter 13: Where was man during the Ice Age?
Chapter 14: Mammoths thrive early in the post-Flood Ice Age
Chapter 15: Were Siberian mammoths quick frozen?
Chapter 16: Extinction of the woolly mammoth
Appendix 1: The confusion of elephant and mammoth classification
Appendix 2: Possible explanations for disharmonious associations
Appendix 3: The elephant kind
Appendix 4: Woolly mammoths — Flood or Ice Age?


In Six Days

Preface by John F. Ashton

Science and origins
Jeremy L. Walter
Jerry R. Bergman
John K.G. Kramer
Paul Giem
Henry Zuill
Jonathan D. Sarfati
Ariel A. Roth
Keith H. Wanser
Timothy G. Standish
John R. Rankin
Bob Hosken
James S. Allan
George T. Javor
Dwain L. Ford
Angela Meyer
Stephen Grocott
Andrew McIntosh
John P. Marcus
Nancy M. Darrall
John M. Cimbala
Edward A. Boudreaux
E. Theo Agard
Ker C. Thomson
John R. Baumgardner
Arthur Jones

Religion and origins
George F. Howe
A.J. Monty White
D.B. Gower
Walter J. Veith
Danny R. Faulkner
Edmond W. Holroyd
Robert H. Eckel
Jack Cuozzo
Andrew Snelling
Stephen Taylor
John Morris
Elaine Kennedy
Colin W. Mitchell
Stanley A. Mumma
Evan Jamieson
Larry Vardiman
Geoff Downes
Wayne Frair
Sid Cole
Don B. DeYoung
George S. Hawke
Kurt P. Wise
J.H. John Peet
Werner Gitt
Don Batten


One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism

Foreword by Zig Ziglar, author/motivational teacher
Preface by Jim Fletcher, editor-in-chief, Master Books
Chapter 1: Cain’s wife
Chapter 2: Natural selection and speciation
Chapter 3: Genetics and the human family
Chapter 4: One race
Chapter 5: ‘Interracial’ marriage?
Chapter 6: Are black people the result of a curse on Ham?
Chapter 7: Pseudo-biblical arguments refuted
Chapter 8: ‘Stone age’ people
Chapter 9: Darwin’s body snatchers
Chapter 10: Ota benga: The Pygmy put on display in a zoo
Chapter 11: How to become a member of the Last Adam’s ‘race’
Closing: Why does it matter?


Refuting Evolution

Foreword by Ken Ham
Chapter 1: Evolution & creation, science & religion, facts & bias
Chapter 2: Variation and natural selection versus evolution
Chapter 3: The links are missing
Chapter 4: Bird evolution?
Chapter 5: Whale evolution?
Chapter 6: Humans: images of God or advanced apes?
Chapter 7: Astronomy
Chapter 8: How old is the earth?
Chapter 9: Is the design explanation legitimate?
Chapter 10: Conclusion


Refuting Evolution 2


Unit 1. Claim: Evolution is Science (Evolutionists insist that evolutionary theory is science, and claim that creationism is religion.)
Chapter 1: Argument: Creationism is religion, not science
Chapter 2: Argument: Evolution is compatible with Christian religion
Chapter 3: Argument: Evolution is true science, not ‘just a theory’

Unit 2. Claim: Evolution is well supported by the evidence (Evolutionists claim that they have found abundant, observable evidence of evolution.)
Chapter 4: Argument: Natural selection leads to speciation
Chapter 5: Argument: Some mutations are beneficial
Chapter 6: Argument: Common design points to common ancestry
Chapter 7: Argument: ‘Bad design’ is evidence of leftovers from evolution
Chapter 8: Argument: The fossil record supports evolution

Unit 3. Claim: ‘Problems’ with evolution are illusory (Evolutionists argue that there are reasonable theories for even the biggest ‘surprises’ of evolution.)
Chapter 9: Argument: Probability of evolution
Chapter 10: Argument: ‘Irreducible complexity’
Chapter 11: Argument: Evolution of sex
Chapter 12: Argument: Evolution of mankind
Appendix 1: Common arguments for evolution that have been rejected
Appendix 2: Common arguments for creation that should not be used (See Arguments we think creationists should NOT use)


Why Won’t They Listen?

Foreword by Tim Dudley, president, Master Books/New Leaf Press
Chapter 1: A worrisome trend
Chapter 2: What is the gospel?
Chapter 3: Communication—it’s a problem
Chapter 4: The Cross—a stumbling block!
Chapter 5: The Cross—foolishness!
Chapter 6: Pioneer evangelism—outstanding success!
Chapter 7: From ‘Jews’ to ‘Greeks’
Chapter 8: The evolution connection
Chapter 9: Beauty and the Curse
Chapter 10: The seven Cs
Chapter 11: Practical creation evangelism
Chapter 12: The generation gaps
Chapter 13: ‘Myth-ing’ the point
Chapter 14: The victory chapter!


Adam’s Rib: Creation & the Human Body

Does Carbon Dating Disprove the Bible?

Evidence for a Young World

Is There Intelligent Life in Outer Space?

The Seven C’s of History

Six Days or Millions of Years?

Was There Really a Noah’s Ark and Flood?

Where Did Cain Get His Wife?

Where Did the ‘Races’ Come From?

What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?

Why Is There Death & Suffering

Douglas Groothuis Mp3 (Lectures on Apologetics)

Lectures on Apologetics

Introductory Lecture (Dr. Douglas Groothuis) Click Here

1. The Nature and Purpose of Apologetics part 1 Click Here

2. The Nature and Purpose of Apologetics part 2 Click Here

3. Developing an Apologetic Mind for the Postmodern World part 1 Click Here

4. Developing an Apologetic Mind for the Postmodern World part 2 Click Here

5. Worldviews, Truth, and Knowledge part 1 Click Here

6. Worldviews, Truth, and Knowledge part 2 (57 minutes; 13 megs) Click Here

7. Truth and Knowledge Click Here

8. Conventionalism Click Here

9. Testing Worldviews Click Here

10. The Project of Natural Theology Click Here

11. Atheism Click Here

12. Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God part 1 Click Here

13. Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God part 2 Click Here

14. Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God part 3 Click Here

15. Design Arguments for the Existence of God part 1 Click Here

16. Design Arguments for the Existence of God part 2 Click Here

17. Design Arguments for the Existence of God part 3 Click Here

18. Design Arguments for the Existence of God part 4 Click Here

19. God and Moral Meaning part 1 Click Here
20. God and Moral Meaning part 2 Click Here

21. God and Moral Meaning part 3 Click Here

22. Argument from Religious Experience Click Here
23. Questions and Answers Click Here


(HT: A-Team)

Libertarianism, Compatibilism and Moral Responsiblity: A Philosophical Introduction to Available Models. Part 4

Part Four: Hierarchial and Semi-Compatibilism

1 Hierarchical Compatibilism

Hierarchical compatibilism is the classical style of compatibilism held by free will such theorist as Jonathan Edwards,[1] Suzan Wolf,[2] Gary Watson,[3] and Harry Frankfurt.[4] Frankfurt’s analysis has probably received in the most attention in the contemporary literature so I will focus my attention on his account. Frankfurt proposes that “one essential difference between person’s and other creatures is to be found in the structure of a person’s will.”[5] Frankfurt suggests that while humans are not alone in possessing the capacity for motives and desires, they are alone in their ability to have what he calls second-order desires.

Besides having first-order desires, desires or motives to do this or that, persons also have desires to have or not have desires. These are called second-order desires. “No animal other than man appears…to have the capacity for reflective self-evaluation that is manifested in the formation of second-order desires.”[6] A person, according to Frankfurt, has desires as to whether he wants or does not want to be moved by his first-order desires. He argues further that it is in virtue of this capacity of humans to form second order desires that they are able to have another significant feature often considered the most distinguishing mark of the human condition—free will.[7] He writes:


According to a familiar philosophical tradition, being free is fundamentally a matter of doing what one wants to do…although its focus needs to be sharpened and its formulation refined, I believe that this notion does capture at least part of what is implicit in the idea of an agent who acts freely….Analogously, then, the statement that a person enjoys freedom of the will means (also roughly) that he is free to want what wants to want. More precisely, it means that he is free to will what he wants to will, or have the will he wants. Just as the question about the freedom of an agent’s action has to do with whether it is the action he wants to perform, so the question about the freedom of his will has to do with whether it is the action he wants to perform. It is in the securing of the conformity of his will to his second order volitions, then, that a person exercises freedom of the will.[8]

It is important to note here that Frankfurt makes a distinction between acting freely and freedom of the will. One has freedom of the will if and only if (1) he has the capacity for and actually posses second-order volitions, (2) his first-order desires are not discordant with his second-order desires, and (3) his reason for having second-order desires is in virtue of his having first order desires.[9] However, for Frankfurt, a person acts freely if she did what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it and if the act issued from her own free will.


2 Semi-compatibilism

In my estimation, the most intuitively plausible and philosophically sophisticated account of compatibilism to date is that of John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza. Fischer calls this view semi-compatibilism. He summarizes his position as follows:


The actual-sequence reasons-responsiveness account of guidance control (and moral responsibility) thus yields “semi-compatibilism:” moral responsibility is compatible with causal determinism, even if causal determinism is incompatible with freedom to do otherwise. Compatibilism about determinism and responsibility is compatible with both compatibilism and incompatibilism (as well as agnosticism) about determinism and freedom to do otherwise.[10]

This is significantly different from many classical accounts of compatibilism which have embraced PAP and sought to show that an agent could have done otherwise if they wanted to.[11] As the basis for his semi-compatibilist model, Fischer employs an actual-sequence reasons responsive mechanism which is fully possessed by the agent (i.e. it is his own mechanism) and issues in the agent’s guidance control over his own action. Each of these concepts deserve separate consideration. I will treat them in reverse order.


2.1 Guidance Control

At the center of Fischer and Ravizza’s account[12] is the thesis that a certain type of control over one’s actions is a necessary condition for grounding moral responsibility. They suggest two types of control as likely candidates: regulative control and guidance control. Regulative control involves alternative possibilities and consists of a kind of dual power over one’s actions. Now the agent, according to Fischer and Ravizza, has regulative control if she has “the power freely to do some act A, and the power freely to do something else instead (where “doing something else” may be simply refraining from acting at all, or “doing nothing”).”[13] Given the success of the Frankfurt cases, however, it is clear that this is not the kind of control needed to ground moral responsibility. They conclude on the basis of such examples that we can safely affirm that “moral responsibility does not require the sort of control that involves the existence of genuinely open alternative possibilities.”[14] In order make this control-distinction explicit, they ask us to imagine a scenario involving a driver named Sally.


Let us suppose that Sally is driving here car. It is functioning well, and Sally wishes to make a right turn. As a result of her intention to turn right, she signals, turns the steering wheel, and carefully guides the car to the right. Further, we here assume that Sally was able to form the intention not to turn the car to the right but to turn the car to the left instead. (We are thus not making any special assumption, such as that causal determinism is true.) Also, we assume that, had she formed such an intention, she would have turned the steering wheel to the left and the car would car would have gone to the left. She controls the car, and also she has a certain sort of control over the car’s movements. Insofar as Sally actually guides the car in a certain way, we shall say that she has “guidance control.” Further, in so far as Sally has the power to guide the car in a different way, we shall say that she has “regulative control.”[15]

In the Frankfurt cases considered earlier, the prima facie assumption was that Jones was morally responsible for his actions but yet lacked regulative control over his actions. But if Jones does not have some type of control over his action, how could we hold him responsible for those actions? Fischer and Ravizza contend that while Jones does not have regulative control over his actions, he does have the type of control necessary for responsibility conferral—guidance control. I summarize Fischer and Ravizza’s two conditions for this type of control in the following way:


(GC) An agent has guidance control over an act if and only if (1) he has ownership of the mechanism which issues in the act and (2) the mechanism that issues in the act is moderately reasons-responsive.



2.2 Ownership

It seems fairly obvious that if an action does not issues from one’s own mechanism (e.g. volition, free will, etc.), that action is not one for which one may be held responsible. In the Frankfurt-cases, for example, it is clear that in the alternative sequence where Black, the counterfactual intervener, does play a role, that the Jones is not morally responsible. This is because the action issues from Black’s mechanism, not Jones’. Perhaps part of what is embodied in this concept is the common notion that an agent does not exercise guidance control over actions which are internally or externally coerced. It seems that what Fischer and Ravizza have in mind, however, is a slightly more specified idea which involves taking ownership and thus responsibility for one’s actions. By taking responsibility for one’s action an agent takes ownership of the mechanism from which they issued.[16] This act of “taking responsibility,” according to Fischer and Ravizza, is something that happens at a particular moment in one’s life in which a person take a certain stance toward their own mechanism. This stance involves acknowledging one’s self as a “fair” recipient of reactive moral attitudes. In other words, when a child is not surprised or confused when she is punished for lying to her parents but expresses remorse, this is a sign that she has taken responsibility for the mechanism which issued in the act of “lying.” She recognizes her ownership of that mechanism (although she is probably not so philosophically reflective about that ownership!). This aspect of the Fischer-Ravizza account renders it drastically different from many classical compatibilist accounts because it takes into consideration the history of agent’s taking ownership of her own mechanism.



2.3 Actual-Sequence Reasons-Responsiveness

It is not, however, sufficient that the agent have mere possession of the action-issuing mechanism. In order to be responsible, the mechanism itself must also be moderately reasons-responsive in the actual sequence. For Fischer, the alternative sequence is irrelevant since it is never the alternative sequence in which we are interested in holding people morally responsible. There doesn’t seem to be any cases in which we hold people morally responsible in the actual sequence (what they actually do) for actions they could have done in a variety of alternative sequences. While a wife may rightly hold her husband accountable for not going to the store to get the necessary items for dinner that evening, this is something which he did in the actual sequence. It would be laughable, in other words, if the husband rejoinded to the wife: ‘Yes, honey, I did not go get the groceries in the actual sequence, but you should be happy that I got them in several alternative sequences.’ We are simply not interested in ascribing moral praiseworthiness and blameworthiness to actions performed in the alternative sequences. This is why Fischer insists that as long as the action-issuing mechanism is moderately reasons-responsive in the actual sequence, an agent can be held morally responsible for those actions. But what does it mean for a mechanism to be reasons-responsive?

Reasons-responsiveness, according to Fischer and Ravizza, means that the relevant mechanism is able to weigh and respond appropriately to reasons. They suggest three ways in which a mechanism may be reasons-responsive: strong, weak, and moderate. They argue that strong reasons-responsiveness, where there is a very close fit between sufficient reasons and action, does not allow for responsibility conferral regarding irrational behavior. Say, for example, that Fred plans to go the movies on Friday evening. As it turns out, Fred is an architect who has project due on Monday mourning which will not get done if Fred chooses to go to the movies on Friday. But Molly convinces Fred to go with her any way. Here we agree that Fred is responsible for his action even though it does not issue from a strong reasons-responsive mechanism. So this kind of mechanism cannot be what is required for guidance control. But what about a weekly reasons responsive mechanism? Initially, when Fischer introduced his view, he held that this was the kind of mechanism that was needed for guidance control.[17] On this kind of mechanism there is only a loose fit between reasons and actions. In other words, there must be some possible world w1 where reasons R are sufficient for person p to do otherwise than A and in w1 p acts on the same mechanism as she acts on in the actual world and does otherwise than A because of R. So this time we imagine that Fred will go to the movies with Molly even if it means not finishing his project which is due on Monday. But if going to the movies with Molly meant, say, that Fred’s wife would make him sleep on the couch for a week (w1), then Fred would decide not to go to the movies with Molly.


But Fischer and Ravizza argue that “strong reasons-responsiveness is too strong: it is to much to ask that an agent be strongly responsive to reasons, in order to be morally responsible for his action. But it turns out that weak reasons-responsiveness is too weak; it is not enough to ask that an agent be weakly responsive to reasons, in order to be morally responsible for his actions.”[18] Instead, they insist that moderate reasons-responsiveness is just right. Moderate reasons-responsiveness has two ingredients: it consist in (1) at least weak-reasons reactivity of the actual sequence mechanism that leads to the action and (2) regular reasons-receptivity.[19] By regular reasons- reactivity, they mean the customary ability “to translate reasons into choices (and then subsequent behavior).”[20] In others words, if a third-party observed one’s action they would be able to recognize a rational, intelligible pattern in that person’s reactivity to reasons. And by receptivity to reasons, they mean “the capacity to recognize reasons that exist.”[21] To illustrate this, Fischer and Ravizza imagine a scenario in which Brown is addicted to a new drug called Plezu.[22] As the drug grows in popularity the price begins to rise. Eventually, Brown predicts, the drug will reach a price that is beyond his means (say, 1000$ per dose). So Brown recognizes that 1000$ is a sufficient reason not to take the drug because a habit that expensive would be beyond his financial means. He recognizes, furthermore, that anything over 1000$ would be too much to pay for the drug (i.e. he is moderately reasons-responsive). But what if Brown informed us that while he would not be willing to pay 1000$ for the drug, he would be willing to pay, say, 1001$ and higher (i.e. he is weakly reasons-responsive). In this case, we would wonder if he really understood the reasons to begin with and whether he could really be held responsible for not buying the drug at 1000$ per dose. We would also wonder whether such a pattern was rational at all (i.e. whether it was reactive to reasons). It would certainly be weakly responsive to reasons but it doesn’t seem that we could hold Brown responsible for such unintelligible behavior—perhaps, he is insane or mentally handicapped in some way.

In summary, then, for an agent to be responsible for his action, he must have guidance control over those actions. Having guidance control, according to Fischer and Ravizza, means that the relevant action issued from one’s own moderately reasons-responsive mechanism. For a mechanism to be moderately reasons-responsive, it must both understand the reasons which are before it and be able to translate those reasons into the appropriate responsive actions.


To be continiued…

[1] Jonathan Edwards, The Freedom of the Will: Which is Supposed to be Essential to Moral Agency, Virtue, and Vice, Reward and Punishment, Praise and Blame (London, Eng.: Thomas Nelson, 1845); Reprint (Morgan, Pa.: Sola De Gloria Publications, 1996).

[2] Suzan Wolf, Freedom Within Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).

[3] Gray Watson, “Free Agency,” in FW, 337-51.

[4] Harry Frankfurt, “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person,” JP 68/1 (1971): 5-20; Reprinted in FW, 322-36.

[5] Frankfurt, “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person,” 323.

[6] Ibid., 324.

[7] Ibid., 330.

[8] Ibid., 331.

[9] For a good summary of Frankfurt’s views as well as sympathetic, though not uncritical, interaction with and revision of them see Eleonore Stump, “Sanctification, Hardening of the Heart, and Frankfurt’s Concept of Free Will,” in PMR, 211-234.

[10] Fischer, The Metaphysics of Free Will, 180.

[11] See for example, Daniel Dennett, Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1984), 131-52.

[12] Fischer and Ravizza, Responsibility and Control.

[13] Ibid., 31.

[14] Ibid., 30.

[15] Ibid., 31.

[16] Ibid., 241.

[17] cf. Fischer, The Metaphysics of Free Will, 164-68.

[18] Ibid., 89.

[19] Ibid., 69-89.

[20] Ibid., 69.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid., 75-76.


Denny Burk on the recent election of Bruce Ware as the next ETS President and the amendment of the bylaws to reflect better of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy. He gave some update on his paper as well.

The A-Blog blogged on James Spiegel: The Epistemic Ramifications of Behavior; H. Chris Ross: Promoting Evangelical Faith Through New Media; Brett Kunkle: Essential Concerns Regarding the Emerging Church; Erik Thoennes: Laughing Through Tears.

Brett Kunkle’s paper at ETS on the Emerging Church.

Scot McKnight on ETS/SBL.

On the Emergent conversation.

Bibliobloggers @SBL – Codex; Targuman; Biblishe Ausbildung; BlueCord; SansBlogue.

Evangelical Textual Criticism on Live from SBL in Washington

Libertarianism, Compatibilism and Moral Responsiblity: A Philosophical Introduction to Available Models. Part 3

Part 3 Alternative Possibilities, Moral Responsibility and Frankfurt Counterexamples:

 (Introducing the Philosophical Motivation for Compatibilism)

1. Alternative Possibilities and Moral Responsibility

In each of the libertarian accounts considered above the agent is pictured as the source of his own action. Not only that, great care is taken in these accounts to ensure that the way in which action issues from the agent is internally nondeterministic. Specifically, the agent’s internal psychological states, reasons, desires, etc. are not sufficient conditions for the bringing about of a agent-action. Instead, the springs of action must conceived of as both internally (psychologically) and externally (circumstantially) indeterministic. And these finely tuned, intricate philosophical systems are not merely the sportful exercise of analytical powers; they are rooted in deep seated intuitions regarding the conferral moral responsibility. In particular, the intuition that seems to be driving (at least most) incompatibilist accounts is the notion that for a person to be morally responsible for their action there must be real, sufficiently robust alternative possibilities. This principle has been called the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP).

PAP: A person is morally responsible for what she has done only if she could have done otherwise.

Carl Ginet formulates this driving intuition in the following way:

It is very natural to think that a person deserves blame or credit for a certain thing’s being the case, is morally responsible for it, only if she could have made it otherwise. I deserve blame for the fact that the car is not yet repaired only if I could have made it the case that the car was repaired now. Smith deserves credit for knocking down the opposing quarterback only if he could have avoided knocking down the quarterback.

It is from these intuitions regarding responsibility that PAP is drawn up. The upshot of PAP is that moral responsibility is incompatible with determinism. This notion, in particular, seems to be the central motivation for libertarian construals of human freedom. The argument from alternative possibilities for incompatibilism (and thus libertarianism) may be framed accordingly:

(1) If PAP is valid, determinism (D) and moral responsibility (R) are incompatible

(2) PAP is valid.

(3) Therefore, D and R are in fact incompatible (compatibilism is false).

(4) Therefore, incompatibilism is true.

Lines (1), and (3)-(4) are uncontestable. If PAP is true, moral responsibility and determinism do seem incompatible. (3)-(4) follow logically from the truth of PAP. Clearly (2) is the contentious premise. The compatibilist who desires to block this argument, therefore, will have to offer counterexamples to PAP which show (2) to be incorrect. PAP makes a universal claim about the nature of alternative possibilities and moral responsibility. Hence, a single counterexample to this principle will show its falsity. Harry Frankfurt has focused his work on precisely this point. By employing Frankfurt’s work I hope to criticize the centeral premise governing most libertarian accounts of freedom (PAP) and in so doing, undermine all three varieties of libertarianism mentioned above. This will then pave the way for an alternative, compatibilist account of freedom.

2. Frankfurt Counterexamples

In his ground breaking article “Alternative Possibilities and Moral Responsibility,” Harry Frankfurt proposed a series of counterexamples to PAP which have become the center of much of the contemporary discussion revolving around free will and moral responsibility. A Frankfurt-type example may run as follows. Unbeknownst to Jones, Black, a neurological surgeon, has implanted a device in Jones brain for the purpose of detecting his volitional activity. It is Black’s intention that Jones murder Mayor Mathis. Black knows that Jones has already planed to murder the mayor and at this point he simply wants to ensure that Jones carry out his diabolical plan. If, for any reason, Jones brain activity indicates that he will deliberate against killing the mayor Black will interfere with Jones’ neuronal pathways in such a way as to prevent Jones from carrying out that deliberation. Furthermore, Frankfurt imagines, there is no way for Jones to know that his brain activity is being monitored or that his deliberations against killing Mayor Mathis will ultimately be unsuccessful. As it turns out, there is no need for Black to interfere with Jones’ neuronal activity since Jones (to Black’s satisfaction) carries out his deliberations just as he planned (i.e. he killed the mayor without the inference of Black’s device). Now it seems prima facie clear that Jones, although unable to do otherwise, should be held morally responsible for his actions. It also seems clear, therefore, that a cogent counterexample to PAP can be formulated along Frankfurtian lines. This conclusion, however, has not gone uncontested. Two strategies have generally been offered in defense of PAP: the flicker of freedom strategy and the incoherence charge.

2.1 The Flicker of Freedom Strategy

The first strategy in responding to these types of examples attempts to meet them head on arguing that while Frankfurt’s examples do not—at first glance—seem to contain alternative possibilities, upon closer scrutiny it is realized that there are at least some alternative possibilities open to the agent. For example, it may conceded that the alternative pathway to refraining from killing the mayor was shut down by Black (the counterfactual intervener i.e. an intervener which interferes only with the flow of action if the agent ‘would have done otherwise’). However, this is not to say that the alternative pathway to beginning to deliberate to kill Mayor Mathis was shut down—in fact, it is the very initiation of the deliberation process that signals Black to intervene. It is argued that these may be the factors in Frankfurt’s examples that allow us to hold Jones responsible for his actions. These glimmerings of alternative sequences in the Frankfurt scenarios are called flickers of freedom.

John Fischer identifies four versions of this strategy. Three of these strategies closely investigate the alternative sequence (those courses of action which Jones does not perform) and attempt to locate some alternative possibility which may have gone unnoticed. The fourth strategy focuses its scrutinies on the actual sequence (the course of action Jones actually performed) and asks what exactly the agent is held responsible for. Fischer contends that the argument can be weakened initially by moving the deliberation-sign (Jones’ neuronal activity) to an earlier place in the deliberative process. Now, for instance, the sign that Jones is going to refrain from murdering black is not the initiation of the deliberation process but a blush. If Jones blushes then Black will know, for whatever reason, that Jones will soon deliberate in such a way as to refrain from killing the mayor. Fischer argues that when the examples have been reformulated in this way, the alternative possibilities that remain are not sufficiently robust to confer responsibility. According to Fischer, it hard to see how blushing (an action not directly connected to the deliberative process) in the alternative sequence could confer moral responsibility for Jones murdering the mayor in the actual sequence.

2.2 Incoherence Charge

A second strategy for defending PAP against the Frankfurt attack charges the examples with begging the question. This strategy argues that the Frankfurt-type examples assume causal determinism, the very point which is under debate. Fischer acknowledges that, “Under this assumption, it is unfair and question-begging simply to assert that the relevant agent—say, Jones—is morally responsible for his behavior. But the proponent of Frankfurt-style compatibilism should not—and need not—make such an assertion at this point.” Instead, he suggests, “The argument is in two parts. The first step is to argue—based on Frankfurt-type examples—that intuitively it is plausible that alternative possibilities are irrelevant to ascriptions of moral responsibility. If one agrees with this point, the preliminary conclusion can be stated as follows: if the agent (say, Jones) is not morally responsible for his behavior, this is not in virtue of his lacking alternative possibilities.” For the Frankfurt-style compatibilist, the argument for the actual conferral of responsibility along compatibilistic lines does not come in until the second stage of the argument. It is to this second aspect of the compatibilist argument that we now turn.

To be continued in Part 4


cf. Harry Frankfurt, “Alternative Possibilities and Moral Responsibility,” Alternative Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.” JP 66 (December 1969): 828-39. Reprinted in John Martin Fischer. Moral Responsibility. Ithaca: Cornell University press, 1986. Reprinted in ACE, 17-25. Reprinted in FW, 167-76. Reprinted in MRAP, 1-16, see pg. 1.

Carl Ginet, “In Defense of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities: Why I Don’t Find Frankfurt’s Argument Convincing,” in MRAP, 75.

Frankfurt, “Alternative Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.”

John Martin Fischer, The Metaphysics of Free: An Essay on Control, ASS Volume 14 (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1995), 136-40.

Ibid., 136.

Fischer, “Frankfurt-style Compatibilism,” 197.

Ibid., 198.

Books and Articles on the Philosophical Analysis of the Incarnation and the Trinity



Baker, Ruddy L. “Unity Without Identity: A New Look at Material Constitution,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy 23 (1999): 144-165.

Brown, D., 1989, “Trinitarian Personhood and Individuality.” in Feenstra and Plantinga 1989, pp. 48-78.

Coakley, Sarah. “What Chalcedon Does Solve and What Does it Not? Some Reflections on the Status and Meaning of the Chalcedonian ‘Definition.’” In Incarnation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Incarnation of the Son of God. Ed. by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 143-63.

Cross, R. “Aquinas on Nature, Hypostasis, and the Metaphysics of the Incarnation,” Thomist 60 (1996): 171-202.

Davis, Stephen T. “Was Jesus Mad, Bad, or God?” In Incarnation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Incarnation of the Son of God. Ed. by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 221-45.

______. Encountering Jesus: A Debate on Christology. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1988.

______. Logic and the Nature of God. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1983.

Daley, Brian E. “Nature and ‘Mode of Union’: Late Patristic Models for the Personal Unity of Christ. ” In Incarnation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Incarnation of the Son of God. Ed. by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002,164-96.

Evans, C. Stephen. “The Self-Emptying of Love: Some Thoughts on Kenotic Christology.” In Incarnation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Incarnation of the Son of God. Ed. by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 246-72.

______. The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: the Incarnational Narrative as History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Geach, Peter. “Identity.” In Logic Matters. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1972.

Feenstra, R., 1989, “Reconsidering Kenotic Christology.” in Feenstra and Plantinga 1989, pp. 128-152.

______. “Pre-existence and Personal Identity.” In Logos: Philosophical Issues in Christian Perspective, 9 (

Flint, Thomas. “The Possibilities of Incarnation: Some Radical Molinist Suggestions.” In Religious Studies (2001).

______. “A Death He Freely Accepted: Molinist Reflections on the Incarnation.” In Faith and Philosophy, (2001).

Janzen, Grace. “Incarnation and Epistemology.” Theology 83 (May 1983): 171.

Leftow, Brian. “A Timeless God Incarnate.” ” In Incarnation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Incarnation of the Son of God. Ed. by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 273-392.

Martinich, A.P. “Identity and Trinity.” Journal of Religion 58 (1978): 169-81.

______. “God, Emperor, and Relative Identity.” Franciscan Studies 39 (1979): 180-91.

Morris, T. V., 1986, The Logic of God Incarnate. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Plantinga, Alvin. “On Heresy, Mind, and Truth.” Faith and Philosophy (1999): 184.

Plantinga Jr., C. “Social Trinity and Tritheism.” In Trinity, Incarnation, and Atonement: Philosophical and Theological Essays. Ed. by Feenstra, R., and Plantinga, Jr., C. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989, 21-47.

Relton, H. M., 1929. A Study in Christology. London: MacMillan.

Senor, T. “God, Supernatural Kinds, and the Incarnation.” Religious Studies (1991): 353-370.

______. “Incarnation and Timelessness.” Faith and Philosophy 7 (1990):

Stump, Eleonore. “Aquinas’ Metaphysics of the Incarnation.” ” In Incarnation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Incarnation of the Son of God. Ed. by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 197-220.

______.“Review of Logic of God Incarnate by Thomas Morris.” Faith and Philosophy, VI 2 (April 1989): 218-23.

Swinburne, Richard. The Evolution of the Soul. Rev. ed. Oxford: Claredon Press, 1997.

_______. The Christian God. Oxford: Claredon Press, 1994.

_______. The Coherence of Theism. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977.

_______. “Could God Become Man?” In The Philosophy in Christianity. Ed. by G. Vesey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Swinburne, R. and S. Shoemaker. Personal Identity. Oxford: Blackwell, 1984.

van Inwagen, Peter. “Incarnation and Christology.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York: Routledge, 1999, 4:725-32.

______. “And yet they are not three Gods but one God.” In Philosophy and the Christian Faith. Ed. by Thomas V. Morris. UNDSPR 5. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988. 241-78. Reprinted in Peter van Inwagen. God, Knowledge, and Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995. 222-59.

______. “Not by Confusion of Substance, but by Unity of Person.” In Reason and the Christian Religion: Essays in Honour of Richard Swinburne. Edited by A.G. Padgett Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994.

Wright, N.T. “Jesus’ Self-Understanding.” In Incarnation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Incarnation of the Son of God. Ed. by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 47-61.

Zagzebski, Linda. “The Incarnation and Virtue Ethics.” ” In Incarnation: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Incarnation of the Son of God. Ed. by Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 313-31.

Zemach, Eddy M. “In Defense of Relative Identity.” Philosophical Studies 26 (1974).