Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Eric Yang

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© 2015 Samuel C Nordstrom


In this paper I examine the contemporary debate over Derk Pereboom’s Manipulation Argument for the incompatibility of free will and determinism. After considering the argument in its entirety, I entertain a Hard-Line compatibilist reply given by Michael McKenna, based on an improved reworking of Pereboom’s cases. In evaluating McKenna’s reply I begin with several objections raised by Ishiyaque Haji and Stephan Cuypers before arguing that the reworking of cases is unsuccessful due to a lack of freedom-undermining manipulation. I redefine the conditions for what satisfies as freedom-undermining manipulation based on a revised understanding of the process whereby agents come to evaluate their desires independently. In conclusion, I maintain that Pereboom’s argument succeeds only insofar as it satisfies an evaluative account of manipulation. However, upon doing so, Pereboom’s strategy of accounting for all desired CAS conditions fails, given that authentic evaluation cannot be manipulatively accounted for. As a result, the Manipulation Argument fails to prove the incompatibility of free will and determinism.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.