Alicia Finch

Document Type



The consequence argument for the incompatibility of free action and determinism has long been under attack, but two important objections have only recently emerged: Warfield’s modal fallacy objection and Campbell’s no past objection. In this paper, I explain the significance of these objections and defend the consequence argument against them. First, I present a novel formulation of the argument that withstands their force. Next, I argue for the one controversial claim on which this formulation relies: the trans-temporality thesis. This thesis implies that an agent acts freely only if there is one time at which she is able to perform an action and a distinct time at which she actually performs it. I then point out that determinism, too, is a thesis about trans-temporal relations. I conclude that it is precisely because my formulation of the consequence argument emphasizes transtemporality that it prevails against the modal fallacy and no past objections.



Publication Date


Original Citation

Finch, Alicia (2011). On behalf of the consequence argument: time, modality, and the nature of free action. Philosophical Studies, 163:1, 151-170. DOI: 10.1007/s11098-011-9791-5

Legacy Department

Department of Philosophy


20 pages







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