Philosophical Studies

, Volume 173, Issue 6, pp 1621–1628 | Cite as

Rescuing the Zygote Argument



In a recent paper, Kristin Mickelson argues that Alfred Mele’s Zygote Argument, a popular argument for the claim that the truth of determinism would preclude free action or moral responsibility, is not valid. This sort of objection is meant to generalize to various manipulation arguments. According to Mickelson, the only way to make such arguments valid is to supplement them with an argument that is an inference to the best explanation. In this paper, I argue that there are two other ways in which the proponent of such manipulation arguments can modify their argument, neither of which requires an inference to the best explanation. I then briefly consider and respond to a worry with one of these proposed solutions.


Compatibilism Free will Incompatibilism Incompossibilism Manipulation Zygote Argument 



For comments on a draft of this paper, I am grateful to Alfred Mele, Randolph Clarke, Daniel Miller, Matthew Flummer and an anonymous referee.


  1. Mele, A. (2005). A critique of Pereboom’s ‘four-case argument’ for incompatibilism. Analysis, 65, 75–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Mele, A. (2006). Free will and luck. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Mickelson, K. (2015a). A critique of Vihvelin’s three-fold classification. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 45, 85–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Mickelson, K. (2015b). The Zygote Argument is invalid: Now what?” Philosophical Studies: Online.Google Scholar
  5. Pereboom, D. (2014). Free will, agency, and meaning in life. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

Personalised recommendations