A Partial Defense of the Actual-Sequence Model of Freedom

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Over the years, two models of freedom have emerged as competitors: the alternative-possibilities model (the “classical” approach to freedom, which understands freedom in terms of having access to alternative possibilities of action) and the actual-sequence model (the approach inspired by Harry G. Frankfurt’s rejection of the principle of alternative possibilities and the insights provided by the “Frankfurt-style” examples). This paper is a partial defense of the actual-sequence model. My defense relies on two strategies. The first strategy consists in de-emphasizing the role of examples in arguing for (or against) a model of freedom. Imagine that, as some people think, Frankfurt-style cases fail to undermine the alternative-possibilities model. What follows from this? Not much, I argue. In particular, I note that the counterparts of Frankfurt-style cases also fail to undermine the actual-sequence model (in fact, they do that in a more glaring and indisputable way). My second strategy of defense consists in revitalizing the original motivation for the actual-sequence model, by revamping it, isolating it from claims that do not fully capture the same idea, and arguing that it can be developed in a successful way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Ethics
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Actual sequences
  • Alternative possibilities
  • Causal histories
  • Fischer and Ravizza
  • Frankfurt
  • Frankfurt-style cases
  • Freedom
  • Moral responsibility
  • PAP-style cases
  • Sensitivity to reasons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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