Reductionism, Agency and Free Will

Axiomathes 25 (1):107-116 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In the context of the free will debate, both compatibilists and event-causal libertarians consider that the agent’s mental states and events are what directly causes her decision to act. However, according to the ‘disappearing agent’ objection, if the agent is nothing over and above her physical and mental components, which ultimately bring about her decision, and that decision remains undetermined up to the moment when it is made, then it is a chancy and uncontrolled event. According to agent-causalism, this sort of problem can be overcome if one realizes that the agent herself, as an irreducible substance, is the true originator of her actions. I’ll present arguments that favor this view. Event-causalists have countered that if the agent identifies with some of the inner states that play the self-determining causal role in bringing about the action, then it is as though the action was directly caused by herself. I’ll object that this is not a distinctive aspect of free agency. Agent-causalism has been criticized from most naturalistically inclined fronts, and it must address risks of implausibility, contradiction and unintelligibility. Even though I’ll acknowledge these challenges, I’ll still argue that libertarian free will cannot be defended by any reductionist alternative, and that agent-causalism does not conflict with contemporary science but only with some of its unproven assumptions

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,678

External links

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

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-10-04

Downloads
101 (#172,007)

6 months
7 (#623,045)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

A nonreductive physicalist libertarian free will.Dwayne Moore - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Persons and Causes: The Metaphysics of Free Will.Timothy O'Connor - 2000 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
A Metaphysics for Freedom.Helen Steward - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

View all 33 references / Add more references