Masked Abilities and Compatibilism

Mind 117 (468):843-865 (2008)
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Abstract

An object's disposition to A in circumstances C is masked if circumstances C obtain without the object Aing. This paper explores an analogous sense in which abilities can be masked, and it uses the results of this exploration to motivate an analysis of agents' abilities in terms of dispositions. This analysis is then shown to provide the resources to defend a version of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities against Frankfurt-style counterexamples. Although this principle is often taken to be congenial to incompatibilism concerning free action and determinism, the paper concludes by using the dispositional analysis of abilities to argue for compatibilism, and to show why the 'master argument' for incompatibilism is unsound

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Citations of this work

Agents’ Abilities.Romy Jaster - 2020 - Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.
Free will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Know-how as Competence. A Rylean Responsibilist Account.David Löwenstein - 2017 - Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann.
Dispositions without Conditionals.Barbara Vetter - 2014 - Mind 123 (489):129-156.

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References found in this work

Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.
How to speak of the colors.Mark Johnston - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 68 (3):221-263.
Dispositions.Stephen Mumford - 1998 - Oxford, GB: Clarendon Press.
Living without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):494-497.
Dispositions and conditionals.C. B. Martin - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174):1-8.

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