Noûs:76-96 (2017)

Randolph Clarke
Florida State University
A growing number of philosophers now hold that agent causation is required for agency, or free will, or moral responsibility. To clarify what is at issue, this paper begins with a distinction between agent causation that is ontologically fundamental and agent causation that is reducible to or realized in causation by events or states. It is widely accepted that agency presents us with the latter; the view in question claims a need for the former. The paper then examines a “disappearing agent” argument from Derk Pereboom that is aimed at showing that free will requires agent causation that is ontologically fundamental. It is argued that the argument fails. Further, it is argued that, contrary to Pereboom’s claim, the issue raised by his disappearing agent argument is distinct from the problem of present luck that libertarian theories of free will face. The paper concludes with an assessment of the prospects for success of a disappearing agent argument showing that agent causation that is ontologically fundamental is required for agency tout court.
Keywords agent causation  disappearing agent  free will  luck  realization  reduction
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Reprint years 2017, 2019
DOI 10.1111/nous.12206
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Free will and control: a noncausal approach.David Palmer - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):10043-10062.
Agent Causation and the Phenomenology of Agency.Randolph Clarke - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):747-764.
Laws of Nature and Free Will.Pedro Merlussi - 2017 - Dissertation, Durham University

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