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Volume 29 • Number 2

April 2012



Thomas Reid on Character and Freedom

by Kenneth L. Pearce

Recent challenges notwithstanding, it is widely held that a necessary condition of freedom is the power or ability to do otherwise. It is also widely held that the power to do something entails the possibility of doing it: that is, if S has the power to φ, then, possibly, S φs. This condition is, however, hardly sufficient. It is possible that I should walk through walls, but I do not have the power to walk through walls because this possibility is distant and, indeed, outlandish. A common way of ruling out these sorts of cases is to insist that, in order for me to have the power to perform some action, there must be a possible world sufficiently similar to the actual world in which I perform that action.

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ISSN: 2152-1026