If Anyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist, then Everyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist

Mind 125 (500):1101-1131 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Nearly all defences of the agent-causal theory of free will portray the theory as a distinctively libertarian one — a theory that only libertarians have reason to accept. According to what I call ‘the standard argument for the agent-causal theory of free will’, the reason to embrace agent-causal libertarianism is that libertarians can solve the problem of enhanced control only if they furnish agents with the agent-causal power. In this way it is assumed that there is only reason to accept the agent-causal theory if there is reason to accept libertarianism. I aim to refute this claim. I will argue that the reasons we have for endorsing the agent-causal theory of free will are nonpartisan. The real reason for going agent-causal has nothing to do with determinism or indeterminism, but rather with avoiding reductionism about agency and the self. As we will see, if there is reason for libertarians to accept the agent-causal theory, there is just as much reason for compatibilists to accept it. It is in this sense that I contend that if anyone should be an agent-causalist, then everyone should be an agent-causalist.

Similar books and articles

Agent-causation and agential control.Markus Ernst Schlosser - 2008 - Philosophical Explorations 11 (1):3-21.
Agent Causation and Acting for Reasons.Rebekah L. H. Rice - 2011 - American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):333-346.
Reductionism, Agency and Free Will.Maria Joana Rigato - 2015 - Axiomathes 25 (1):107-116.
The Problem of Enhanced Control.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):687 - 706.
Luck and Agent-Causation: A Response to Franklin.Neil Levy - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (4):779-784.
Libertarianism, luck, and action explanation.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30:321-340.
Active control, agent-causation and free action.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (2):131-148.

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-12-18

Downloads
1,124 (#11,404)

6 months
182 (#16,255)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Free will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Agent causation as a solution to the problem of action.Michael Brent - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):656-673.
Arguments for incompatibilism.Kadri Vihvelin - 2003/2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Deliberating in the presence of manipulation.Yishai Cohen - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (1):85-105.
Epistemic control without voluntarism.Timothy R. Kearl - 2023 - Philosophical Issues 33 (1):95-109.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

View all 118 references / Add more references