‘Brain-Malfunction’ Cases and the Dispositionalist Reply to Frankfurt's Attack on PAP

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):646-657 (2016)
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Abstract

Harry Frankfurt has famously argued against the principle of alternate possibilities by presenting a case in which, apparently, a person is morally responsible for what he has done even though he could not have done otherwise. A number of commentators have proposed dispositionalist responses to Frankfurt, arguing that he has not produced a counterexample to PAP because, contrary to appearances, the ability to do otherwise is indeed present but is a disposition that has been ‘masked’ or ‘finked’ by the presence of a counterfactual controller. This article argues that this response to Frankfurt does not undercut his attack on PAP, since there are Frankfurt-style counterexamples to the principle—‘brain-malfunction’ cases—that evade the dispositionalist analysis.

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Greg Janzen
University of Calgary

Citations of this work

Alternate Possibilities and Moral Asymmetry.Daniel Avi Coren - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (2):145-159.

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References found in this work

An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
Finkish dispositions.David Kellogg Lewis - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):143-158.
Dispositions and conditionals.C. B. Martin - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174):1-8.

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