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Philosophical Papers$
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J. L. Austin, J. O. Urmson, and G. J. Warnock

Print publication date: 1979

Print ISBN-13: 9780192830210

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019283021X.001.0001

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Ifs and Cans 1

Ifs and Cans 1

(p.205) 9 Ifs and Cans1
Philosophical Papers

J. L. Austin

J. O. Urmson

G. J. Warnock

Oxford University Press

Criticises G. E. Moore’s highly influential proposal that ascriptions of agent ability implying freedom of choice or action, what the agent could do, are analyzable as conditional statements regarding what the agent would do under certain circumstances. Austin objects against Moore that some uses of ‘if’ are non-conditional and goes on to examine the uses of these non-conditional cases. Moore’s proposal also lies at the heart of some compatibilist theories of free will and determinism. Austin argues determinism to be a pseudo-problem, so long as it remains a notion that is not itself clear cut.

Keywords:   Austin, compatibilism, conditional, determinism, free will, freedom, G. E. Moore, if

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