Events, agents, and settling whether and how one intervenes

Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1629-1646 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Event-causal libertarians maintain that an agent’s settling of whether certain states-of-affairs obtain on a particular occasion can be reduced to the causing of events by certain mental events or states, such as certain desires, beliefs and/or intentions. Agent-causal libertarians disagree. A common critique against event-causal libertarian accounts is that the agent’s role of settling matters is left unfilled and the agent “disappears” from such accounts—a problem known as the disappearing agent problem. Recently, Franklin has argued that an “enriched” event-causal account can overcome this problem. Franklin, however, doesn’t consider whether, as Pereboom argues, the agent as decider of “torn decisions” disappears from even enriched accounts. As I show here, Franklin’s enriched account takes some modifying if it is to overcome Pereboom’s torn decision problem—a special case of the disappearing agent problem. However, as I also show, there is a more fundamental problem facing event-causal libertarian accounts. It is implausible that an agent qua event or state simultaneously settles whether and how she intervenes. The upshot is that events and/or states lack an ability essential to completely fulfilling an agent’s role qua settler. This isn’t a problem for agent-causal accounts like the one offered by Steward because in as much as an agent qua substance settles whether her body moves in certain ways on certain occasions she simultaneously settles whether and how she intervenes. As a consequence, event-causal libertarians face a dilemma, or rather several, that agent-causal libertarians do not. This may ultimately be explained by the irreducibility of causation by agents to causation by events

Similar books and articles

On Settling.Robert E. Goodin - 2012 - Princeton University Press.
Agents, causes, and events.Roderick Chisholm - 1995 - In Timothy O'Connor (ed.), Agents, Causes, and Events: Essays on Indeterminism and Free Will. Oxford University Press. pp. 95--100.
Agential Settling Requires a Conscious Intention.Yishai Cohen - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (01):139-155.
one. Modes of Settling.Robert E. Goodin - 2012 - In On Settling. Princeton University Press. pp. 5-29.
four. Settling in Aid of Striving.Robert E. Goodin - 2012 - In On Settling. Princeton University Press. pp. 63-73.
The Settling-Time Reducibility Ordering.Barbara F. Csima & Richard A. Shore - 2007 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 72 (3):1055 - 1071.
Events.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
two. The Value of Settling.Robert E. Goodin - 2012 - In On Settling. Princeton University Press. pp. 30-50.
three. What Settling Is Not.Robert E. Goodin - 2012 - In On Settling. Princeton University Press. pp. 51-62.
Agents and their actions.Maria Alvarez & John Hyman - 1998 - Philosophy 73 (2):219-245.
Applying Statistical Methods in Knowledge Management of a Multiagent System.Ondřej Kohut & Michal Košinár - 2010 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 17 (2):201-216.


Added to PP

424 (#26,325)

6 months
44 (#30,777)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jason D. Runyan
Indiana Wesleyan University

Citations of this work

Laws of Nature and Free Will.Pedro Merlussi - 2017 - Dissertation, Durham University
The Disappearing Agent.Filip Čeč - 2017 - In Berčić Boran (ed.), Perspectives on the Self. Rijeka, Croatia: pp. 235-253.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.

View all 63 references / Add more references