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Helen Steward [43]Helen Catherine Steward [1]
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Helen Steward
University of Leeds
  1. A Metaphysics for Freedom.Helen Steward - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
    Helen Steward argues that determinism is incompatible with agency itself--not only the special human variety of agency, but also powers which can be accorded to animal agents. She offers a distinctive, non-dualistic version of libertarianism, rooted in a conception of what biological forms of organisation might make possible in the way of freedom.
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  2.  35
    The Ontology of Mind: Events, Processes, and States.Helen Steward - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
    Helen Steward puts forward a radical critique of the foundations of contemporary philosophy of mind, arguing that it relies too heavily on insecure assumptions about the sorts of things there are in the mind--events, processes, and states. She offers a fresh investigation of these three categories, clarifying the distinctions between them, and argues that the category of state has been very widely and seriously misunderstood.
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  3. Processes, Continuants, and Individuals.Helen Steward - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):fzt080.
    The paper considers and opposes the view that processes are best thought of as continuants, to be differentiated from events mainly by way of the fact that the latter, but not the former, are entities with temporal parts. The motivation for the investigation, though, is not so much the defeat of what is, in any case, a rather implausible claim, as the vindication of some of the ideas and intuitions that the claim is made in order to defend — and (...)
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  4. Actions as Processes.Helen Steward - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):373-388.
    The paper argues that actions should be thought of as processes and not events. A number of reasons are offered for thinking that the things that it is most plausible to suppose we are trying to cotton on to with the generic talk of ‘actions’ in which philosophy indulges cannot be events. A framework for thinking about the event-process distinction which can help us understand how we ought to think about the ontology of processes we need instead is then developed, (...)
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  5. Moral Responsibility and the Irrelevance of Physics: Fischer’s Semi-Compatibilism Vs. Anti-Fundamentalism.Helen Steward - 2008 - The Journal of Ethics 12 (2):129-145.
    The paper argues that it is possible for an incompatibilist to accept John Martin Fischer's plausible insistence that the question whether we are morally responsible agents ought not to depend on whether the laws of physics turn out to be deterministic or merely probabilistic. The incompatibilist should do so by rejecting the fundamentalism which entails that the question whether determinism is true is a question merely about the nature of the basic physical laws. It is argued that this is a (...)
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  6. I—What is a Continuant?Helen Steward - 2015 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 89 (1):109-123.
    In this paper, I explore the question what a continuant is, in the context of a very interesting suggestion recently made by Rowland Stout, as part of his attempt to develop a coherent ontology of processes. Stout claims that a continuant is best thought of as something that primarily has its properties at times, rather than atemporally—and that on this construal, processes should count as continuants. While accepting that Stout is onto something here, I reject his suggestion that we should (...)
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  7. Fairness, Agency and the Flicker of Freedom.Helen Steward - 2009 - Noûs 43 (1):64 - 93.
    This paper argues for the replacement of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities by an alternative principle, the Principle of Possible Non-Performance, which it is argued represents an important improvement on the Principle of Alternate Possibilities in the context of Frankfurt-style examples. The suggestion that the principle offers only the possibility of something insufficiently 'robust' to supply a decent replacement to PAP is countered.
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  8. Sub-Intentional Actions and the Over-Mentalization of Agency.Helen Steward - 2009 - In Constantine Sandis (ed.), New Essays on the Explanation of Action. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    This paper argues, by attention to the category of sub-intentional agency, that many conceptions of the nature of agency are 'over-mentalised', in that they insist that an action proper must be produced by something like an intention or a reason or a desire. Sub-intentional actions provide counterexamples to such conceptions. Instead, it is argued, we should turn to the concept of a two-way power in order to home in on the essential characteristics of actions.
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  9.  55
    Agency as a Two-Way Power: A Defence.Helen Steward - 2020 - The Monist 103 (3):342-355.
    This paper presents a dilemma which it has been alleged by Kim Frost must be faced by any defender of the notion of a two-way power and offers a solution to the dilemma which is distinct from Frost’s own. The dilemma is as follows: assuming that powers are to be individuated by what they are powers to do or undergo, then either there is a unified description of the manifestation-type which individuates the power, or there is not. If there is, (...)
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  10. Animal Agency.Helen Steward - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):217-231.
    Are animals agents? This question demands a prior answer to the question of what an agent is. The paper argues that we ought not to think of this as merely a matter of choosing from a range of alternative definitional stipulations. Evidence from developmental psychology is offered in support of the view that a basic concept of agency is a very early natural acquisition, which is established prior to the development of any full-blown propositional attitude concepts. Then it is argued (...)
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  11.  52
    Free Will and External Reality: Two Scepticisms Compared.Helen Steward - 2020 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (1):1-20.
    This paper considers the analogies and disanalogies between a certain sort of argument designed to oppose scepticism about free will and a certain sort of argument designed to oppose scepticism about the external world. In the case of free will, I offer the ancient Lazy Argument and an argument of my own, which I call the Agency Argument, as examples of the relevant genre; and in the case of the external world, I consider Moore’s alleged proof of an external world. (...)
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  12. The Emergent Self.Helen Steward - 2002 - Mind 111 (441):114-119.
    This is a review of William Hasker's 'The Emergent Self' (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001).
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  13. The Truth in Compatibilism and the Truth of Libertarianism.Helen Steward - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (2):167 – 179.
    The paper offers the outlines of a response to the often-made suggestion that it is impossible to see how indeterminism could possibly provide us with anything that we might want in the way of freedom, anything that could really amount to control, as opposed merely to an openness in the flow of reality that would constitute the injection of chance, or randomness, into the unfolding of the processes which underlie our activity. It is suggested that the best first move for (...)
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  14.  91
    Perception and the Ontology of Causation.Helen Steward - 2011 - In Johannes Roessler, Hemdat Lerman & Naomi Eilan (eds.), Perception, Causation, and Objectivity. Oxford University Press.
    The paper argues that the reconciliation of the Causal Theory of Perception with Disjunctivism requires the rejection of causal particularism – the idea that the ontology of causation is always and everywhere an ontology of particulars (e.g., events). The so-called ‘Humean Principle’ that causes must be distinct from their effects is argued to be a genuine barrier to any purported reconciliation, provided causal particularism is retained; but extensive arguments are provided for the rejection of causal particularism. It is then explained (...)
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  15. The Metaphysical Presuppositions of Moral Responsibility.Helen Steward - 2012 - The Journal of Ethics 16 (2):241-271.
    The paper attempts to explicate and justify the position I call `Agency Incompatibilism'- that is to say, the view that agency itself is incompatible with determinism. The most important part of this task is the characterisation of the conception of agency on which the position depends; for unless this is understood, the rationale for the position is likely to be missed. The paper accordingly proceeds by setting out the orthodox philosophical position concerning what it takes for agency to exist, before (...)
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  16. Responses.Helen Steward - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (6):681-706.
    As the author of A Metaphysics for Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), I respond to each of the preceding eight papers in this Special Issue.
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  17. Identity Statements and the Necessary a Posteriori.Helen Steward - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (8):385-398.
    There is a form of argument for a certain kind of essentialist conclusion which appears not to depend upon any appeal to intuition. Identity statements involving natural kind terms are often adverted to in the literature as examples of the necessary a posteriori, and it can appear as though the essentialist is on very strong ground with respect to these claims. It is not merely that they are apt to strike one as plausible in the light of philosophical arguments or (...)
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  18. 'Could Have Done Otherwise', Action Sentences and Anaphora.Helen Steward - 2006 - Analysis 66 (2):95–101.
    This paper argues that there are a number of different things that could be meant by the claim that a given agent 'could have done otherwise', because there are multiple ways of disambiguating the various anaphoric devices which are contained in the phrase. It goes on to suggest that on at least one of these disambiguations, the claim that a Frankfurtian agent could have done otherwise might be defensible, even given the presence of a counterfactual intervener who will ensure that (...)
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  19. Do Actions Occur Inside the Body?Helen Steward - 2000 - Mind and Society 1 (2):107-125.
    The paper offers a critical examination of Jennifer Hornsby's view that actions are internal to the body. It focuses on three of Hornsby's central claims: (P) many actions are bodily movements (in a special sense of the word “movement”) (Q) all actions are tryings; and (R) all actions occur inside the body. It is argued, contra Hornsby, that we may accept (P) and (Q) without accepting also the implausible (R). Two arguments are first offered in favour of the thesis (Contrary-R): (...)
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  20.  92
    Agency and Action.John Hyman & Helen Steward (eds.) - 2003 - Cambridge University Press.
    One of the most exciting developments in philosophy in the last fifty years is the resurgence in the philosophy of action. The concept of action now occupies a central place in ethics, metaphysics and jurisprudence. This collection of original essays, by some of the most astute and influential philosophers working in this area, covers the entire range of the philosophy of action. Topics covered include the nature of actions themselves; how the concepts of act, agent, cause and event are related (...)
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  21.  35
    Perception and the Ontology of Causation.Helen Steward - 2011 - In Johannes Roessler, Hemdat Lerman & Naomi Eilan (eds.), Perception, Causation, and Objectivity. Oxford University Press. pp. 139.
    The paper argues that the reconciliation of the Causal Theory of Perception with Disjunctivism requires the rejection of causal particularism – the idea that the ontology of causation is always and everywhere an ontology of particulars (e.g., events). The so-called ‘Humean Principle’ that causes must be distinct from their effects is argued to be a genuine barrier to any purported reconciliation, provided causal particularism is retained; but extensive arguments are provided for the rejection of causal particularism. It is then explained (...)
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  22.  83
    Agency Incompatibilism and Divine Agency.Helen Steward - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (3):67--78.
    In this paper, I consider whether an argument for compatibilism about free will and determinism might be developed from the thought that God’s agency seems consistent with the rational determination of at least some divine actions by the True and the Good. I attempt to develop such an argument and then consider how to respond to it from the point of view of my own position, which I call Agency Incompatibilism. I argue that a crucial premise in the argument is (...)
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  23.  77
    Replies to Randolph Clarke, John Bishop, and Helen Beebee.Helen Steward - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (3):547-557.
    Contains the author's responses to comments by the three named authors on her book, 'A Metaphysics for Freedom'.
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  24.  32
    Do Animals Have Free Will?Helen Steward - 2015 - The Philosophers' Magazine 68:43-48.
    This piece for the Philosophers' Magazine explains in an easily accessible way the author's view that in considering the free will problem, it is essential to think about the capacities of animals.
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  25. Agency, Causality and Properties.Helen Steward - 2011 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (3):390-401.
    The paper argues against the very commonly held view that whenever a substance may be said to be the cause of something, a fuller and metaphysically more accurate understanding of the situation can always be obtained by looking to the properties in virtue of which that substance was able to bring about the effect in question. Paul Humphreys’ argument that when a substance is said to have produced an effect, it always turns out to be an aspect or property of (...)
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  26. Agency, Properties and Causation.Helen Steward - 2011 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (3):390-401.
    The paper argues against the very commonly held view that whenever a substance may be said to be the cause of something, a fuller and metaphysically more accurate understanding of the situation can always be obtained by looking to the properties in virtue of which that substance was able to bring about the effect in question. Paul Humphreys’ argument that when a substance is said to have produced an effect, it always turns out to be an aspect or property of (...)
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  27.  26
    Moral Responsibility and the Concept of Agency.Helen Steward - 2011 - In Richard Swinburne (ed.), Free Will and Modern Science. Oup/British Academy.
    This chapter argues for the incompatibility of moral responsibility and determinism. The real reason why determinism and moral responsibility are inconsistent is not moral, but metaphysical. The real reason is that determinism is inconsistent with agency, which is a necessary condition of moral responsibility.
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  28.  72
    Fresh Starts.Helen Steward - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):197-217.
    The paper argues that a proper response to the absurdities which seem to be entailed by the doctrine of determinism requires that we find a way to make sense of the idea that there might be such things as 'fresh starts' in nature—times and places where the world in a sense begins itself anew by rolling forwards in ways that are not wholly attributable (given the laws) to the way it was previously. It considers three powerful orthodoxies which seem to (...)
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  29.  78
    On the Notion of Cause 'Philosophically Speaking'.Helen Steward - 1997 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 97 (2):125–140.
    This paper considers Davidson's critique, in his paper 'Causal Relations' of the Millian notion of the 'whole cause' of an event. The paper attempts to show why Davidson's criticisms of Mill, taken to its logical conclusion, entails that we must give up 'the network model of causation', a model which dominates contemporary philosophy of mind (as well as many accounts of the nature of causation in general) and shapes prevailing ideas about the form of some of its most important questions.
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  30.  19
    Preface.John Hyman & Helen Steward - 2004 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 55:v-vi.
    This is a short preface to an edited collection, 'Agency and Action'.
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  31.  86
    Action as Downward Causation.Helen Steward - 2017 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 80:195-215.
    In this paper, I try to argue that the recognition that non-human animals are relevant to the free will problem delivers interesting new ways of thinking about the central metaphysical issues at the heart of that problem. Some such dividends, I suggest, are the following: that the problem of free will can be considered to be just a more specific version of a general question concerning how agency is to be fitted into the natural world; that action can be usefully (...)
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  32.  52
    Are They Playing Our Tune?Helen Steward - 2002 - Think 1 (2):51-56.
    I think of myself as in large part free to do what I want. For example, I can now freely choose to raise my arm, or not to, as the fancy takes me. But perhaps this impression of freedom and control is misleading. In this article Helen Steward explains how the findings of science seems to suggest that we ultimately have no control at all over how our lives go.
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  33.  76
    Causing Things and Doing Things.Helen Steward - 2014 - In C. G. Pulman (ed.), Hart on Responsibility.
    This paper considers and criticises what appears to be a suggestion by Hart and Honore in 'Causation in the Law' that there is a category of basic doings, which ought not themselves to be regarded as causings. It argues instead that all actions are causings by the agent.
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  34. Determinism and Inevitability.Helen Steward - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (3):535-563.
    The paper discusses one of the central arguments in Dennett’s Freedom Evolves, an argument designed to show that a deterministic universe would not necessarily be a universe of which it could truly be said that everything that occurs in it is inevitable. It suggests that on its most natural interpretation, the argument is vulnerable to a serious objection. A second interpretation is then developed, but it is argued that without placing more weight on etymological considerations than they can really bear, (...)
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  35.  27
    Free Will.Helen Steward - 2009 - In John Shand (ed.), Central Issues of Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell.
    This article offers an introductory overview of some key issues in the free will debate. it is suitable for non-specialists.
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  36.  28
    Inner and Outer: Essays on A Philosophical Myth.Helen Steward - 1992 - Philosophical Books 33 (4):234-235.
    This is a review of Godfrey Vesey's book 'Inner and Outer: Essays on a Philosophical Myth'.
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  37.  56
    Minds and Objects.Helen Steward - 2017 - The Philosophers' Magazine 76:96-101.
    This short article is intended to be comprehensible to an interested general audience, and considers some different ways in which philosophers have attempted to answer the question ‘What is it to have a mind?’ Some problems with what is now a popular strategy, making use of the notion of representational content, are raised, focusing particularly on Tyler Burge’s attempt to utilise facts gleaned from perceptual (and in particular visual) psychology in order to make tractable the question which animals, exactly, may (...)
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  38.  86
    Précis of "A Metaphysics for Freedom".Helen Steward - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (3):513-518.
    This is a summary of the main arguments of 'A Metaphysics for Freedom' (Oxford: OUP, 2012).
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  39.  58
    Papineau’s Physicalism.Helen Steward - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (3):667-672.
    In his introduction to Philosophical Naturalism, Papineau mentions that he had intended, at one time, to call the book Philosophical Physicalism. In the end, he writes, he rejected that title, partly for fear that the term "physicalism" might have suggested commitment to a metaphysical position tied closely to the ontology and categories dictated by current physics, a commitment he is anxious not to incur; and partly because the concerns of the book as a whole are wider than would have been (...)
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  40.  87
    Holton, Richard . Willing, Wanting, Waiting . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 203. $49.95 (Cloth).Helen Steward - 2010 - Ethics 120 (3):604-608.
  41. The Mind’s Construction: The Ontology of Mind and Mental Action, by Matthew Soteriou.Helen Steward - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):605-608.
    A review of Matthew Soteriou's 'The Mind's Construction: The Ontology of Mind and Mental Action'.
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  42.  19
    Understanding ‘Because’.Helen Steward - 2006 - ProtoSociology 23:67-92.
    The article considers the bearing of so-called "slingshot" arguments on the connective "because". It discusses Davidson's famous (1967) slingshot, deployed in support of the thesis that causation cannot be a relation between facts, and also a neater version developed by Stephen Neale in his (1995). The paper challenges the assumption (Anscombe (1969), Lycan (1974), Mellor (1995), Neale (1995)), that Davidson's argument, which actually concerns the connective "The fact that ... caused it to be the case that ..." (FC) might equally (...)
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