The mad scientist meets the robot cats: Compatibilism, kinds, and counterexamples

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (2):333-37 (1996)
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Abstract

In 1962 Hilary Putnam forced us to face the possibility of robot cats. More than twenty years later Daniel Dennett found himself doing battle with mad scientists and other “bogeymen.” Though these two examples are employed in different philosophical arena, there is an important connection between them that has not been emphasized. Separating the concept associated with a kind term from the extension of that term, as Putnam and others have urged, raises the possibility of accepting counterexamples to compatibilistic analyses without rejecting compatibilism. Even if no compatibilist analysis of our concept of free action is acceptable, a compatibilist account of the essential nature of free action may be.

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Mark Heller
Syracuse University

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