Contemporary Compatibilism: Mesh Theories and Reasons-Responsive Theories

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This article considers two of the most widely discussed types of new compatibilist theories under the headings of "mesh theories" and "reasons-responsive theories." The first part of the article examines hierarchical theories, focusing initially on Frankfurt's theory, which is the most widely discussed of such theories. It considers three kinds of objections that have been made of Frankfurt's hierarchical theory-concerning manipulation, weakness of will, and"identification" with higher-order desires. The second part turns to reasons-responsive compatibilist views of free agency. Such views require that for agents to be free and responsible, they must be "responsive to reasons," in the sense that they must be able to recognize and evaluate reasons for action, and be able to act in some manner that is sensitive to a suitable range of reasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Free Will
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940387
ISBN (Print)9780195399691
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012


  • Compatibilist theories
  • Frankfurt's hierarchical theory
  • Free agency
  • Mesh theories
  • Reasons-responsive theories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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