Deep Control

Deep Control : Essays on Free Will and Value

4.12 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 9-12 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


In this collection of essays - a follow up to My Way and Our Stories - John Martin Fischer defends the contention that moral responsibility is associated with "deep control". Fischer defines deep control as the middle ground between two untenable extreme positions: "superficial control" and "total control".

Our freedom consists of the power to add to the given past, holding fixed the laws of nature, and therefore, Fischer contends, we must be able to interpret our actions as extensions of a line that represents the actual past. In "connecting the dots", we engage in a distinctive sort of self-expression. In the first group of essays in this volume, Fischer argues that we do not need genuine access to alterative possibilities in order to be morally responsible. Thus, the line need not branch off at
crucial points (where the branches represent genuine metaphysical possibilities). In the remaining essays in the collection he demonstrates that deep control is the freedom condition on moral responsibility. In so arguing, Fischer contends that total control is too much to ask-it is a form of
"metaphysical megalomania". So we do not need to "trace back" all the way to the beginning of the line (or even farther) in seeking the relevant kind of freedom or control. Additionally, he contends that various kinds of "superficial control"-such as versions of "conditional freedom" and "judgment-sensitivity" are too shallow; they don't trace back far enough along the line. In short, Fischer argues that, in seeking the freedom that grounds moral responsibility, we need to carve out a middle
ground between superficiality and excessive penetration. Deep Control is the "middle way".

Fischer presents a new argument that deep control is compatible not just with causal determinism, but also causal indeterminism. He thus tackles the luck problem and shows that the solution to this problem is parallel in important ways to the considerations in favor of the compatibility of causal determinism and moral responsibility.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 157 x 236 x 16mm | 384g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199354138
  • 9780199354139
  • 1,817,026

Table of contents

1. Deep Control: The Middle Way ; Part One: An Actual-Sequence Approach to Moral Responsibility ; 2. The Frankfurt Cases: The Moral of the Stories ; 3. Freedom, Foreknowledge, and Frankfurt: A Reply to Vihvelin ; 4. The Importance of Frankfurt-Style Argument ; 5. Blame and Avoidability: a Reply to Otsuka ; 6. Indeterminism and Control: An Approach to the Problem of Luck ; Part Two: The Middle Path: Guidance Control ; 7. The Direct Argument: You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello ; 8. Conditional Freedom and the Normative Approach to Moral Responsibility ; 9. Judgment-Sensitivity and the Value of Freedom ; 10. Sourcehood: Playing the Cards that Are Dealt You ; 11. Guidance Control ; 12. The Triumph of Tracing
show more

Review quote

John Martin Fischer's new collection of essays, Deep Control: Essays on Free Will and Value, constitutes a trenchant defence of his well-known compatibilist approach to moral responsibilityEL. Predominantly a collection of detailed responses to recent critics, this is not a book for beginners. It is, however, essential reading for specialists, as well as useful reading for non-specialists seeking a snapshot of the current state of the debate. Fischer's papers are
dense with argument and alive with original and productive ideas. * Michael Garnett, Analysis * As always, Fischer is highly sensitive to the subtleties and intricacies of the arguments but has an uncanny ability to cut to the heart of the issues. And as always, he is charitable to his opponents. Fischer's insights here, as in his other work, will prove invaluable for framing the debate and moving it forward * Meghan Griffith, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
show more

About John Martin Fischer

John Martin Fischer received his BA and MA in philosophy from Stanford University, and his PhD in philosophy from Cornell. He has taught at Yale, UCLA, and Santa Clara University. He is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of California, Riverside, where he holds a UC President's Chair.
show more

Rating details

8 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 38% (3)
4 38% (3)
3 25% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X