Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Lewis & Clark College

Fischer on Compatibilism

Added on by jay odenbaugh.

Fischer claims that Frankfurt-examples show that we can have guidance control without regulative control. That is, we can be free in one sense even if we are not in another. Here is his example. 

In any case, Jones goes into the voting booth, deliberates in the "normal" way, and chooses to vote for the Democrat. On the basis of this choice, Jones votes for the Democrat. Unbeknownst to Jones, he has a chip in his brain that allows a very nice and highly progressive neurosurgeon (Black) to monitor his brain. The neurosurgeon wants Jones to vote for the Democrat, and if she sees that Jones is about to do so, she does not intervene in any way -- she merely monitors the brain. If, on the other hand, the neurosurgeon sees that Jones is about to choose to vote for the Republican, she swings into action with her nifty electronic probe and stimulates Jones' brain in such a way as to ensure that he chooses to vote for the Democrat (and goes ahead and votes for the Democrat). Given the set-up, it seems that Jones freely chooses to vote for the Democrat and freely votes for the Democrat, although he could not have chosen or done otherwise: it seems that Jones exhibits guidance control of his vote, but he lacks regulative control over his choice and also his vote. (58) 

Do you think the Frankfurt example is convincing? Why or why not?