Agency, control, and causation

Abstract
Responsibility for an action requires what Professor McCann calls an exercise of legitimate agency of the part of an agent, a necessary condition for which is libertarian freedom. Free decisions are to be explained teleologically, not causally. Agent causation cannot account for the existence of a free decision, but neither does event causation account for the existence of determined events. The problem of accounting for the existence of a free decision is therefore of a piece with the problem of accounting for the existence of the world itself. All of this, like a related line of argument by Professor McCall to which you can turn, is a long way from what seems to me the continuing arguableness of determinism and the unavoidableness of the proposition that both Incompatibilism and Compatibilism about freedom are false. But we all need to remember, with Cromwell, in our own bowels if not by those of Christ, that we may be mistaken. I guess that given the proportion of false to true views in the world, we need to remember it is arguable that we are all more likely to be mistaken. -- T.H.
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