Defeating Manipulation Arguments: Interventionist causation and compatibilist sourcehood

Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1255-1276 (2017)
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Abstract

We use recent interventionist theories of causation to develop a compatibilist account of causal sourcehood, which provides a response to Manipulation Arguments for the incompatibility of free will and determinism. Our account explains the difference between manipulation and determinism, against the claim of Manipulation Arguments that there is no relevant difference. Interventionism allows us to see that causal determinism does not mean that variables outside of the agent causally explain her actions better than variables within the agent, whereas the causal source of a manipulated agent’s actions instead lies outside of the agent in the intentions of the manipulator. As a result, determined agents can have free will and be morally responsible in a way that manipulated agents cannot, contrary to what Manipulation Arguments conclude. In this way, our account demonstrates not only how Manipulation Arguments fail but also how compatibilism can be strengthened by means of a plausible account of causal sourcehood.

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Author Profiles

Oisín Deery
York University
Eddy Nahmias
Georgia State University

Citations of this work

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Free Actions as a Natural Kind.Oisín Deery - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):823-843.
Manipulation Arguments and Libertarian Accounts of Free Will.Taylor W. Cyr - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (1):57-73.

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