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

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


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



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,931

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Libertarianism, luck, and action explanation.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30:321-340.
Lucky agents, big and little: should size really matter?David Blumenfeld - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (3):311-319.
Libertarianism, luck, and control.Alfred R. Mele - 2005 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (3):381-407.
Bad Luck Once Again.Neil Levy - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):749-754.
Farewell to the luck (and Mind) argument.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):199-230.
Indeterminism, explanation, and luck.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2000 - The Journal of Ethics 4 (3):211-235.


Added to PP

132 (#142,230)

6 months
21 (#133,863)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

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.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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.

View all 55 references / Add more references