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  1. added 2018-08-17
    Effort and the Standard Story of Action.Michael Brent - 2012 - Philosophical Writings 40:19 - 27.
    In this paper, I present an alternative account of action that improves upon what has come to be known as the standard story. The standard story depicts actions as events that are caused by and made intelligible through the appropriate combinations of the agent’s beliefs, desires, decisions, intentions and other motivational factors. I argue that the standard story is problematic because it depicts the relation between the agent and their bodily actions as causally mediated by their motivational factors. On the (...)
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  2. added 2018-08-09
    Heart of DARCness.Yang Liu & Huw Price - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
    There is a long-standing disagreement in the philosophy of probability and Bayesian decision theory about whether an agent can hold a meaningful credence about an upcoming action, while she deliberates about what to do. Can she believe that it is, say, 70% probable that she will do A, while she chooses whether to do A? No, say some philosophers, for Deliberation Crowds Out Prediction (DCOP), but others disagree. In this paper, we propose a valid core for DCOP, and identify terminological (...)
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  3. added 2018-04-12
    Libertarische Freiheit für natürliche Wesen. Zu Ansgar Beckermanns Freiheitsauffassung.Geert Keil - 2011 - Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 36 (2):154-176.
    Der Beitrag ist ein Kommentar zu Ansgar Beckermanns kompatibilistischer Freiheitsauffassung. Nach Beckermann können libertarische Auffassungen die Willensfreiheit nicht verständlich machen. Durch ihre Ablehnung des Determinismus sähen sie sich zwei unattraktiven Optionen gegenüber: die Freiheit auf Akteurskausalität zu gründen oder auf den Zufall. Ich stimme Beckermann darin zu, dass Akteurskausalität schwer verständlich und das Zufallsproblem eine große Herausforderung für den Libertarismus ist. Ob der Kompatibilismus in einer besseren Lage ist, ist aber fraglich. Es gibt zwei Arten von Kompatibilisten: solche, die den (...)
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  4. added 2018-02-17
    Agent Causation as the Solution to All the Compatibilist’s Problems.Ned Markosian - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (3):383-398.
    In a recent paper I argued that agent causation theorists should be compatibilists. In this paper, I argue that compatibilists should be agent causation theorists. I consider six of the main problems facing compatibilism: (i) the powerful intuition that one can't be responsible for actions that were somehow determined before one was born; (ii) Peter van Inwagen's modal argument, involving the inference rule (β); (iii) the objection to compatibilism that is based on claiming that the ability to do otherwise is (...)
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  5. added 2017-12-29
    On Flew’s Compatibilism and His Objections to Theistic Libertarianism.Hakan Gundogdu - 2015 - Kaygı Uludağ University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Journal of Philosophy 25:115-142.
    Flew strongly defends a compatibilist thesis in the free will debate before going on to totally object to theistic libertarianism. His objections basically rely on his compatibilism embracing the notion of agent causation, which is not very common in compatibilist theses. Since he is a strong proponent of ordinary language philosophy, he also holds that linguistic analyses can certainly solve the free will problem as well as many other problems of philosophy. In doing so, he first uses the paradigm cases (...)
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  6. added 2017-09-18
    Free Will, Agent Causation, and “Disappearing Agents”.Randolph Clarke - 2017 - Noûs.
    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 (...)
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  7. added 2017-06-18
    An Asymmetrical Approach to Kant's Theory of Freedom.Benjamin Vilhauer - forthcoming - In Dai Heide and Evan Tiffany (ed.), The Idea of Freedom: New Essays on the Interpretation and Significance of Kant's Theory of Freedom.
    Asymmetry theories about free will and moral responsibility are a recent development in the long history of the free will debate. To my knowledge, Kant commentators have not yet explored the possibility of an asymmetrical reconstruction of Kant's theory of freedom, and that will be my goal here. By "free will", I mean the sort of control we would need to be morally responsible for our actions. Kant's term for it is "transcendental freedom", and he refers to the attribution of (...)
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  8. added 2017-01-19
    Agent Causation as a Solution to the Problem of Action.Michael Brent - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):656-673.
    My primary aim is to defend a nonreductive solution to the problem of action. I argue that when you are performing an overt bodily action, you are playing an irreducible causal role in bringing about, sustaining, and controlling the movements of your body, a causal role best understood as an instance of agent causation. Thus, the solution that I defend employs a notion of agent causation, though emphatically not in defence of an account of free will, as most theories of (...)
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  9. added 2016-12-14
    The Feeling of Doing – Nietzsche on Agent Causation.Manuel Dries - 2013 - Nietzscheforschung 20 (1):235-247.
    This article examines Nietzsche’s analysis of the phenomenology of agent causation. Sense of agent causation, our sense of self-efficacy, is tenacious because it originates, according to Nietzsche’s hypothesis, in the embodied and situated experience of effort in overcoming resistances. It arises at the level of the organism and is sustained by higher-order cognitive functions. Based on this hypothesis, Nietzsche regards the sense of self as emerging from a homeostatic system of drives and affects that unify such as to maintain self-efficacy (...)
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  10. added 2016-12-08
    Events, Agents, and Settling Whether and How One Intervenes.Jason D. Runyan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1629-1646.
    Event-causal libertarians maintain that an agent’s settling of whether certain states-of-affairs obtain on a particular occasion can be reduced to the causing of events by certain mental events or states, such as certain desires, beliefs and/or intentions. Agent-causal libertarians disagree. A common critique against event-causal libertarian accounts is that the agent’s role of settling matters is left unfilled and the agent “disappears” from such accounts—a problem known as the disappearing agent problem. Recently, Franklin has argued that an “enriched” event-causal account (...)
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  11. added 2016-12-08
    The Main Problem with Usc Libertarianism.Levy Ken - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 105 (2):107-127.
    Libertarians like Robert Kane believe that indeterminism is necessary for free will. They think this in part because they hold both that my being the ultimate cause of at least part of myself is necessary for free will and that indeterminism is necessary for this "ultimate self-causation". But seductive and intuitive as this "USC Libertarianism" may sound, it is untenable. In the end, no metaphysically coherent conception of ultimate self-causation is available. So the basic intuition motivating the USC Libertarian is (...)
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  12. added 2016-12-08
    Free Will as a Gift From God: A New Compatibilism.Jim Stone - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 92 (3):257-281.
    I argue that God could give us the robust power to do other than we do in a deterministic universe.
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  13. added 2016-12-05
    Free Agents as Cause.Daniel von Wachter - 2003 - In K. Petrus (ed.), On Human Persons. Ontos Verlag. pp. 183-194.
    The dilemma of free will is that if actions are caused deterministically, then they are not free, and if they are not caused deterministically then they are not free either because then they happen by chance and are not up to the agent. I propose a conception of free will that solves this dilemma. It can be called agent causation but it differs from what Chisholm and others have called so.
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  14. added 2016-10-31
    A Study of Ignorance: Suffering and Freedom in Early Buddhist Teachings and Parallels in Modern Neuroscience.Margot Wilson - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    What might early Buddhist teachings offer neuroscience and how might neuroscience inform contemporary Buddhism? Both early Buddhist teachings and cognitive neuroscience suggest that the conditioning of our cognitive apparatus and brain plays a role in agency that may be either efficacious or non-efficacious. Both consider internal time to play a central role in the efficacy of agency. Buddhism offers an approach that promises to increase the efficacy of agency. This approach is found in five early Buddhist teachings that are re-interpreted (...)
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  15. added 2016-07-31
    Freedom and Thought.Michael Bourke - 2016 - Modern Horizons:1-22.
    Despite recent neuroscientific research purporting to reveal that free will is an illusion, this paper will argue that agency is an inescapable feature of rationality and thought. My aim will not be to address the methodology or interpretation of such research, which I will only mention in passing. Rather, I will examine a collection of basic concepts which are presupposed by thought, and propose that these concepts are interrelated in ways that makes them both basic and irreducibly complex. The collection (...)
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  16. added 2016-06-30
    Counterfactuals of Freedom and the Luck Objection to Libertarianism.Robert J. Hartman - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Research 42 (1):301-312.
    Peter van Inwagen famously offers a version of the luck objection to libertarianism called the ‘Rollback Argument.’ It involves a thought experiment in which God repeatedly rolls time backward to provide an agent with many opportunities to act in the same circumstance. Because the agent has the kind of freedom that affords her alternative possibilities at the moment of choice, she performs different actions in some of these opportunities. The upshot is that whichever action she performs in the actual-sequence is (...)
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  17. added 2016-05-25
    O’Connor’s Argument for Indeterminism.Samuel Murray - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (3):268-275.
    Timothy O’Connor has recently defended a version of libertarianism that has significant advantages over similar accounts. One of these is an argument that secures indeterminism on the basis of an argument that shows how causal determinism threatens agency in virtue of the nature of the causal relation involved in free acts. In this paper, I argue that while it does turn out that free acts are not causally determined on O’Connor’s view, this fact is merely stipulative and the argument that (...)
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  18. added 2016-01-20
    Freedom as a Kind of Causality.Toni Kannisto - forthcoming - In Violetta L. Waibel & Margit Ruffing (eds.), Akten des 12. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses “Natur und Freiheit” in Wien vom 21.–25. September 2015.
    Kant’s view that freedom is a “kind of causality” seems to conflict with his claim that the categories of the understanding – including causality – can only be applied objectively to sensible phaenomena, never to supersensible noumena, as freedom is only possible for the latter. I argue that only Kant’s theory of symbolic presentation, according to which the category of cause is applied merely analogically to freedom, can dispel this threatening inconsistency. Unlike it is commonly thought, one cannot here use (...)
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  19. added 2015-08-26
    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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  20. added 2015-07-25
    Wie fängt (man) eine Handlung an?Geert Keil - 2014 - In Anne-Sophie Spann & Daniel Wehinger (eds.), Vermögen und Handung. Der dispositionale Realismus und unser Selbstverständnis als Handelnde. Mentis. pp. 135-157.
    Das Verb „anfangen“ lässt sich sowohl mit einem Akteur an Subjektstelle als auch subjektlos verwenden. Sogenannte subjektlose Sätze wie „Es fängt zu regnen an“ haben freilich ein grammatisches Subjekt, aber auf die Rückfrage „Wer oder was fängt zu regnen an?“ ist die einzig mögliche Antwort „Es“ unbefriedigend. Das grammatische Subjekt fungiert in solchen Sätzen lediglich als synkategorematischer Ausdruck. Menschliche Akteure können in gehaltvollerem Sinn etwas anfangen, zum Beispiel Streit, oder, wie es bei Kant heißt, „eine Reihe von Begebenheiten“. Mit dem (...)
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  21. added 2015-04-18
    Don’T Be an Ass: Rational Choice and its Limits.Marc Champagne - 2015 - Reason Papers 37 (1):137-147.
    Deliberation is often seen as the site of human freedom, but the binding power of rationality seems to imply that deliberation is, in its own way, a deterministic process. If one knows the starting preferences and circumstances of an agent, then, assuming that the agent is rational and that those preferences and circumstances don’t change, one should be in a position to predict what the agent will decide. However, given that an agent could conceivably confront equally attractive alternatives, it is (...)
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  22. added 2015-03-04
    Freedom and Unpredictability.Michael Garnett - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (6):666-680.
    In A Metaphysics for Freedom, Helen Steward proposes and defends a novel version of the libertarian account of free action. Amongst several objections that she considers to her view, one that looms particularly large is the Challenge from Chance: ‘the most powerful, widely-promulgated and important line of anti-libertarian reasoning’. This paper begins by arguing that Steward’s response to the Challenge is not fully convincing. It then goes on to explore a further possible libertarian line of defence against the Challenge, arguing (...)
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  23. added 2015-02-12
    Self, Action and Passivity.Tony Cheng - 2015 - Philosophical Writings 44 (1):01-19.
    In a series of works Hubert Dreyfus argues that phenomenological considerations can show the falsity of John McDowell’s claim that ours actions are permeated with rationality. Dreyfus changes the details of his objections several times in this debate, but I shall argue that there is an implicit false assumption lurking in his thinking throughout his exchanges with McDowell. Originally Dreyfus proposed a distinction between “detached rule-following” and “situation-specific way of coping,” and later he replaces it with the distinction between “subjectivity” (...)
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  24. added 2015-01-27
    Understanding Strength of Will.Michael Brent - 2014 - In Fabio Bacchini Massimo Dell'Utri & Stefano Caputo (eds.), New Advances in Causation, Agency, and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 165-178.
    Richard Holton has presented an important criticism of two prominent accounts of action, a criticism that employs a notion of strength of will. Holton claims that these well-known accounts of action cannot explain cases in which an agent adheres to the dictates of a previous resolution in spite of a persistent desire to the contrary. In this chapter, I present an explanation and defense of Holton’s criticism of these accounts of action, and then I argue that while Holton highlights a (...)
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  25. added 2014-12-18
    If Anyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist, Then Everyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1101-1131.
    Nearly all defences of the agent-causal theory of free will portray the theory as a distinctively libertarian one — a theory that only libertarians have reason to accept. According to what I call ‘the standard argument for the agent-causal theory of free will’, the reason to embrace agent-causal libertarianism is that libertarians can solve the problem of enhanced control only if they furnish agents with the agent-causal power. In this way it is assumed that there is only reason to accept (...)
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  26. added 2014-11-10
    Handeln und Verursachen.Geert Keil - 2000 - Klostermann.
    Wenn wir handeln, greifen wir in den Lauf der Welt ein und führen Veränderungen herbei, von denen wir zu Recht denken, daß sie nicht eingetreten wären, hätten wir nicht eingegriffen. Durch menschliche Eingriffe herbeigeführte Veränderungen machen aber nur einen kleinen Teil dessen aus, was in der Welt geschieht. Der größere Teil geschieht ohne unser Zutun. Beide Arten von Geschehnissen werden sowohl alltagssprachlich wie philosophisch in kausalem Vokabular beschrieben. Handelnde werden als kausale Urheber eines Geschehens verstanden; zugleich sind die mit Handlungen (...)
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  27. added 2014-11-09
    Kann man nichtzeitliche Verursachung verstehen? : Kausalitätstheoretische Anmerkungen zu Kants Freiheitsantinomie.Geert Keil - 2012 - In Mario Brandhorst, Andree Hahmann & Bernd Ludwig (eds.), Sind Wir Bürger Zweier Welten?: Freiheit Und Moralische Verantwortung Im Transzendentalen Idealismus. Meiner. pp. 223-257.
    Die von Kant vorgeschlagene Auflösung der Freiheitsantinomie gehört zu denjenigen Theoriestücken, die auch für den transzendentalen Idealismus aufgeschlossene Philosophen schwer zu verteidigen finden. Dies gilt insbesondere für die Lehre von der nichtzeitlichen Verursachung. Nach dieser Doktrin hebt die »Causalität der Vernunft im intelligibelen Charakter […] nicht zu einer gewissen Zeit an, um eine Wirkung hervorzubringen«. In diesem Beitrag wird nicht Kants Auflösung der Freiheitsantinomie im Mittelpunkt stehen, sondern die Frage, wie das Junktim zwischen Freiheitsrettung und transzendentalem Idealismus allererst motiviert ist. (...)
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  28. added 2014-04-02
    Free Will, Determinism, and the Possibility of Doing Otherwise.Christian List - 2014 - Noûs 48 (1):156-178.
    I argue that free will and determinism are compatible, even when we take free will to require the ability to do otherwise and even when we interpret that ability modally, as the possibility of doing otherwise, and not just conditionally or dispositionally. My argument draws on a distinction between physical and agential possibility. Although in a deterministic world only one future sequence of events is physically possible for each state of the world, the more coarsely defined state of an agent (...)
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  29. added 2014-03-28
    A Compatibilist Version of the Theory of Agent Causation.Ned Markosian - 1999 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (3):257-277.
    The problem of freedom and determinism has vexed philosophers for several millennia, and continues to be a topic of lively debate today. One of the proposed solutions to the problem that has received a great deal of attention is the Theory of Agent Causation. While the theory has enjoyed its share of advocates, and perhaps more than its share of critics, the theory’s advocates and critics have always agreed on one thing: the Theory of Agent Causation is an incompatibilist theory. (...)
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  30. added 2014-03-07
    The Rehabilitation of Spontaneity: A New Approach in Philosophy of Action.Brian J. Bruya - 2010 - Philosophy East and West 60 (2):pp. 207-250.
    Scholars working in philosophy of action still struggle with the freedom/determinism dichotomy that stretches back to Hellenist philosophy and the metaphysics that gave rise to it. Although that metaphysics has been repudiated in current philosophy of mind and cognitive science, the dichotomy still haunts these fields. As such, action is understood as distinct from movement, or motion. In early China, under a very different metaphysical paradigm, no such distinction is made. Instead, a notion of self-caused movement, or spontaneity, is elaborated. (...)
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  31. added 2014-03-07
    Free Action as Two Level Voluntary Control.John Dilworth - 2008 - Philosophical Frontiers 3 (1):29-45.
    The naturalistic voluntary control (VC) theory explains free will and consciousness in terms of each other. It is central to free voluntary control of action that one can control both what one is conscious of, and also what one is not conscious of. Furthermore, the specific cognitive ability or skill involved in voluntarily controlling whether information is processed consciously or unconsciously can itself be used to explain consciousness. In functional terms, it is whatever kind of cognitive processing occurs when a (...)
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  32. added 2014-03-06
    Sublating the Free Will Problematic: Powers, Agency and Causal Determination.Ruth Groff - manuscript
    I argue that a powers-based metaphysics radically reconfigures the existing free will problematic. This is different from claiming that such an approach solves the ill-conceived problems that emerge from Humean-Kantian default commitments.
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  33. added 2013-12-05
    My Brain Made Me Do It: The Exclusion Argument Against Free Will, and What’s Wrong with It.Christian List & Peter Menzies - 2017 - In H. Beebee, C. Hitchcock & H. Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    We offer a critical assessment of the “exclusion argument” against free will, which may be summarized by the slogan: “My brain made me do it, therefore I couldn't have been free”. While the exclusion argument has received much attention in debates about mental causation (“could my mental states ever cause my actions?”), it is seldom discussed in relation to free will. However, the argument informally underlies many neuroscientific discussions of free will, especially the claim that advances in neuroscience seriously challenge (...)
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  34. added 2013-09-06
    Self-Movement and Natural Normativity: Keeping Agents in the Causal Theory of Action.Matthew McAdam - 2007 - Dissertation, Georgetown University
    Most contemporary philosophers of action accept Aristotle’s view that actions involve movements generated by an internal cause. This is reflected in the wide support enjoyed by the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), according to which actions are bodily movements caused by mental states. Some critics argue that CTA suffers from the Problem of Disappearing Agents (PDA), the complaint that CTA excludes agents because it reduces them to mere passive arenas in which certain events and processes take place. Extant treatments of (...)
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  35. added 2012-07-10
    Perceptual and Imaginative Conception: The Distinction Reid Missed.Marina Folescu - 2015 - In Todd Buras & Rebecca Copenhaver (eds.), Thomas Reid on Mind, Knowledge and Value. Oxford University Press. pp. 52-74.
    The present investigation concerns Reid’s explanation of how objects (be they real or nonexistent) are conceived. This paper shows that there is a deep-rooted tension in Reid’s understanding of conception: although the type of conception employed in perception is closely related to the one employed in imagination, three fundamental features distinguish perceptual conception (as the former will be referred to throughout this paper) from imaginative conception (as the latter will be called henceforth). These features would have been ascribed by Reid (...)
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  36. added 2012-06-03
    O'Connor, Timothy. Persons and Causes: The Metaphysics of Free Will.Paul Raymont - 2003 - Review of Metaphysics 57 (1):170-172.
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  37. added 2012-04-17
    How Does Agent-­‐Causal Power Work?Andrei A. Buckareff - 2011 - Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):105-121.
    Research on the nature of dispositionality or causal power has flourished in recent years in metaphysics. This trend has slowly begun to influence debates in the philosophy of agency, especially in the literature on free will. Both sophisticated versions of agent-­‐causalism and the new varieties of dispositionalist compatibilism exploit recently developed accounts of dispositionality in their defense. In this paper, I examine recent work on agent-­‐causal power, focusing primarily on the account of agent-­‐causalism developed and defended by Timothy O’Connor’s in (...)
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  38. added 2011-09-14
    Thomas Reid on Character and Freedom.Kenneth L. Pearce - 2012 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 29 (2):159-176.
    According to Thomas Reid, an agent cannot be free unless she has the power to do otherwise. This claim is usually interpreted as a version of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities. Against this interpretation, I argue that Reid is committed to the seemingly paradoxical position that an agent may have the power to do otherwise despite the fact that it is impossible that she do otherwise. Reid's claim about the power to do otherwise does not, therefore, entail the Principle of (...)
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  39. added 2011-06-01
    Natural Philosophy and the Use of Causal Terminology: A Puzzle in Reid's Account of Natural Philosophy.Aaron D. Cobb - 2010 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 8 (2):101-114.
    Thomas Reid thinks of natural philosophy as a purely nomothetic enterprise but he maintains that it is proper for natural philosophers to employ causal terminology in formulating their explanatory claims. In this paper, I analyze this puzzle in light of Reid's distinction between efficient and physical causation – a distinction he grounds in his strict understanding of active powers. I consider several possible reasons that Reid may have for maintaining that natural philosophers ought to employ causal terminology and suggest that (...)
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  40. added 2011-04-09
    Freedom and Experience: Self-Determination Without Illusions.Kevin Magill - 1997 - St. Martin's Press/Palgrave Macmillan.
    Most of us take it for granted that we are free agents: that we can sometimes act so as to shape our own lives and those of others, that we have choices about how to do so and that we are responsible for what we do. But are we really justified in believing this? For centuries philosophers have argued about whether free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism or natural causation, and they seem no closer to agreeing about (...)
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  41. added 2010-09-16
    Spontaneity, Democritean Causality and Freedom.Monte Ransome Johnson - 2009 - Elenchos 30 (1):5-52.
    Critics have alleged that Democritus’ ethical prescriptions (“gnomai”) are incompatible with his physics, since his atomism seems committed to necessity or chance (or an awkward combination of both) as a universal cause of everything, leaving no room for personal responsibility. I argue that Democritus’ critics, both ancient and contemporary, have misunderstood a fundamental concept of his causality: a cause called “spontaneity”, which Democritus evidently considered a necessary (not chance) cause, compatible with human freedom, of both atomic motion and human actions. (...)
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  42. added 2009-07-03
    Does Agent-Causation Theory Explain Free Agency?Xiangdong Xu - manuscript
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