Agent Causation and the Phenomenology of Agency

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):747-764 (2019)
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Several philosophers claim that the phenomenology of one’s own agency conflicts with standard causal theories of action, couched in terms of causation by mental events or states. Others say that the phenomenology is prima facie incompatible with such a theory, even if in the end a reconciliation can be worked out. Here it is argued that the type of action theory in question is consistent with what can plausibly be said to be presented to us in our experience of our agency. Several routes to a claim that there is nevertheless a prima facie incompatibility are examined, and all are found wanting. The phenomenology of agency, it is argued, is no threat to a standard causal theory of action.
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