Should we allow for the possibility of necessarily unexercised abilities? A new route to rejecting the poss-ability principle

Björn Lundgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Most analyses of can and abilities accept what is known as the poss-ability principle (i.e. that an agent S is able to Φ only if it is possible for S to Φ). In this paper, I devise a new route to rejecting the poss-ability principle. I argue that the poss-ability principle is incompatible with some kind of agent, such as God; that the poss-ability principle has normatively unacceptable consequences (granted the existence of a certain kind of evil agent); and that analyses of abilities or ‘can’ based on the poss-ability principle are conceptually flawed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInquiry
Early online date24 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Ability
  • can
  • impossibility
  • poss-ability principle

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