If Anyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist, then Everyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist

Mind 125 (500):1101-1131 (2016)
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Abstract
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 the agent-causal theory if there is reason to accept libertarianism. I aim to refute this claim. I will argue that the reasons we have for endorsing the agent-causal theory of free will are nonpartisan. The real reason for going agent-causal has nothing to do with determinism or indeterminism, but rather with avoiding reductionism about agency and the self. As we will see, if there is reason for libertarians to accept the agent-causal theory, there is just as much reason for compatibilists to accept it. It is in this sense that I contend that if anyone should be an agent-causalist, then everyone should be an agent-causalist.
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Archival date: 2014-12-18
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