God, freedom, and human agency

Faith and Philosophy 26 (4):378-397 (2009)
Abstract
My purpose in this paper is to set forth a theory of agency that makes no appeal to mysterious notions of agent causation. But lest I be misunderstood at the very outset, I should perhaps clarify the point that my emphasis here is on the term “mysterious” and not on the expression “agent causation.” I shall begin with what seems to me the best possible example of agent causation: the sense in which a supremely perfect God, if one should exist, would initiate or originate his own actions. I shall not, however, simply adopt without modification the standard understanding of agent causation, assuming there to be such an understanding. I shall not make it true by definition, for example, that an agent-caused event can occur only in a context of alternative possibilities and hence can never be necessitated. Neither shall I make it true by definition that the internal states of an agent can never determine, or even causally determine in the case of human beings, a genuine instance of agent causation.1 Instead, I shall begin with the assumption that God represents the best and the clearest example of.
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