Persons and Causes: The Metaphysics of Free Will / Edition 1

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This provocative book refurbishes the traditional account of freedom of will as reasons-guided "agent" causation, situating its account within a general metaphysics. O'Connor's discussion of the general concept of causation and of ontological reductionism v. emergence will specially interest metaphysicians and philosophers of mind.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This excellent book contributes to the debate about freedom in analytic philosophy....Anyone who is interested in the metaphysical requirements of freedom should read this book."—Paul Raymont, Carleton University

"The book is intelligent throughout. O'Connor is unafraid to defend an unfashionable view, and to do so in a bold and imaginative way."—John Martin Fischer, MIND

"O' gifted and productive philosopher who will undoubtedly have more to say about the free will issue."—Philosophia Christi

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195133080
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/16/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Lexile: 1490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Indiana University
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Table of Contents

1 Freedom and Determinism 3
1.1 An Ancient Argument 3
1.2 Some Modal Principles and the Argument for Incompatibilism 5
1.3 The Fixity of the Past and of Natural Laws 15
1.4 Freedom and Responsibility 18
2 Freedom and Indeterminism: Some Unsatisfactory Proposals 23
2.1 The Trouble with Incompatibilism 23
2.2 Simple Indeterminism: Carl Ginet on Choice and Control 24
2.3 Causal Indeterminism: The General Strategy and a Problem Posed 27
3 The Agent as Cause: Reid Taylor, and Chisholm 43
3.1 The Agency Theory 43
3.2 Thomas Reid 43
3.3 Richard Taylor 49
3.4 Roderick Chisholm 55
Appendix Chisholm's Later Writings on Agency 61
4 The Metaphysics of Free Will 67
4.1 Overview 67
4.2 Event Causation 68
4.3 Agent Causation 71
4.4 C. D. Broad's Objection to the Very Idea of Agent Causation 74
4.5 Remarks on a Contemporary Alternative Account of Agent Causation 76
4.6 Ersatz Agent Causation? 79
4.7 Alternative Possibilities, Responsibility, and Agent Causation 81
5 Reasons and Causes 85
5.1 Reasons Explanation and the Agency Theory 85
5.2 Objections to the Account 86
5.3 Reasons and Contrastive Explanation 91
5.4 Reasons and Tendencies to Act: A Residual Problem and a Speculative Proposal 95
5.5 When Is the Will Free? 101
6 Agency, Mind, and Reductionism 108
6.1 Introductory Polemics: 'The Emerging Scientific Picture of the World' 108
6.2 Emergence 110
6.3 Emergence and Consciousness 115
6.4 The Emergence of Active Power 121
6.5 An Epistemological Objection to Agent Causation 123
References 127
Index 133
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