Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2591-2598 (2015)

According to reductionists about agency, an agent’s bringing something about is reducible to states and events involving the agent bringing something about. Many have worried that reductionism cannot accommodate robust forms of agency, such as self-determination. One common reductionist answer to this worry contends that self-determining agents are identified with certain states and events, and so these states and events causing a decision counts as the agent’s self-determining the decision. In this paper I discuss J. David Velleman’s identification reductionist theory, according to which an agent is identified with his desire to make most sense of himself. I develop two constraints that an adequate identification reductionist theory must satisfy and show that Velleman’s theory cannot satisfy both. In particular, I argue that Velleman’s account founders on cases of self-determined self-transformation
Keywords Self-determination  Identification  Causal theory of action  Velleman  Agent-causation  Free Will  Moral Responsibility  Moral Transformation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-014-0423-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,077
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
The Possibility of Practical Reason.David Velleman - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Free Agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (April):205-20.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Problem of Enhanced Control.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):687 - 706.
Grounding the Luck Objection.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (1):127-138.
Cares, Identification, and Agency Reductionism.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):577-598.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
71 ( #152,407 of 2,454,544 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #179,332 of 2,454,544 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes