Agent-Causation, Explanation, and Akrasia: A Reply to Levy’s Hard Luck [Book Review]

Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (4):753-770 (2015)
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Abstract

I offer a brief review of, and critical response to, Neil Levy’s fascinating recent book Hard Luck, where he argues that no one is ever free or morally responsible not because of determinism or indeterminism, but because of luck. Two of Levy’s central arguments in defending his free will nihilism concern the nature and role of explanation in a theory of moral responsibility and the nature of akrasia. With respect to explanation, Levy argues that an adequate theory of moral responsibility must be able provide contrastive explanations of why an agent performs one action rather than another, and that libertarians lack the resources to provide such explanations. With respect to akrasia, Levy argues that it is impossible to be directly morally responsible for akratic actions. In response I argue that any sense of contrastive explanation that can reasonably be thought to be a requirement on an adequate theory of moral responsibility is a sense that agent-causal libertarians can secure. I then argue that the agent-causal theory of free will offers an alternative and attractive understanding of motivation and self-control that makes it plausible to think that we can be morally responsible for akratic actions

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Citations of this work

Luck and Agent-Causation: A Response to Franklin.Neil Levy - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (4):779-784.
A nonreductive physicalist libertarian free will.Dwayne Moore - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
Reductionism, Agency and Free Will.Maria Joana Rigato - 2015 - Axiomathes 25 (1):107-116.

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References found in this work

An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.

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