Fischer’s Semicompatibilism and its Consequences


  • Pisit Marnil Assumption University, Thailand
  • Kajornpat Tangyin Assumption University, Thailand


In this paper I argue that the symmetric approach to moral responsibility, proposed by John Martin Fischer, should be focused merely on the consequence-particular. Fischer employs the symmetric approach with the intention to solve the asymmetric problems on moral responsibility. The problem arises from Frankfurt’s case, which rejects the principle of alternate possibilities (PAP), and relies on the action, rather than omission resulting in asymmetric problems. Fischer solves the problem by using his guidance control and returns the symmetry the idea of moral responsibility. I am convinced by his idea of guidance control that moral responsibility for an omission is the same as moral responsibility for an action. Notwithstanding, I found that Fischer appears to broaden his conclusion from the consequence-particular to the consequence-universal. This issue becomes more explicit when he argues against the case of “direct argument”. But I contend that this argument is unnecessary. The attempt to stretch out responsibility to the consequence-universal is only designed to address a certain kind of problem in his moral responsibility’s theory. This can also be seen when Fischer tries to solve other problem by using his overdetermination example.  I believe that his theory of moral responsibility and guidance control should limit itself merely to the consequenceparticular. 

Author Biographies

Pisit Marnil, Assumption University, Thailand

Pisit Marnil is a graduate student of Philosophy at Assumption University, Thailand. He can be reached at:

Kajornpat Tangyin, Assumption University, Thailand

Kajornpat Tangyin is a Lecturer in Philosophy and Religion at Assumption University, Thailand. He can be reached at: