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

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

by Timothy O'Connor
     
 

ISBN-10: 019515374X

ISBN-13: 9780195153743

Pub. Date: 11/14/2002

Publisher: Oxford University Press

We suppose that we are morally responsible for what we do, that our creative activities merit credit, and that the unfolding of our relationships with others find their ultimate source in us - in the choices we have freely made. But how is such freedom of choice possible? What are the springs of free will?" "Timothy O'Connor systematically develops an account of…  See more details below

Overview

We suppose that we are morally responsible for what we do, that our creative activities merit credit, and that the unfolding of our relationships with others find their ultimate source in us - in the choices we have freely made. But how is such freedom of choice possible? What are the springs of free will?" "Timothy O'Connor systematically develops an account of human agency intended to shed light on these basic questions. Central to O'Connor's account is the traditional concept of 'agent' or 'personal' causation, a concept that has been largely abandoned in contemporary discussions of free will. After critically assessing previous accounts of this notion by Thomas Reid, Richard Taylor, and Roderick Chisholm, O'Connor reformulates it in relation to contemporary discussions of causation. He then presents an original account of how reasons can explain actions whose causes are their agents, and he concludes by arguing that the freedom of will described by his account is consistent with an understanding of human beings as fully rooted in the natural world." "Persons and Causes makes a significant contribution to the literature on free will and places the issue squarely into the context of contemporary work in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, as well as in action theory. It will interest specialists in each of these areas and will serve as an excellent text for advanced courses on free will.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195153743
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
11/14/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
1Freedom and Determinism3
1.1An Ancient Argument3
1.2Some Modal Principles and the Argument for Incompatibilism5
1.3The Fixity of the Past and of Natural Laws15
1.4Freedom and Responsibility18
2Freedom and Indeterminism: Some Unsatisfactory Proposals23
2.1The Trouble with Incompatibilism23
2.2Simple Indeterminism: Carl Ginet on Choice and Control24
2.3Causal Indeterminism: The General Strategy and a Problem Posed27
3The Agent as Cause: Reid Taylor, and Chisholm43
3.1The Agency Theory43
3.2Thomas Reid43
3.3Richard Taylor49
3.4Roderick Chisholm55
AppendixChisholm's Later Writings on Agency61
4The Metaphysics of Free Will67
4.1Overview67
4.2Event Causation68
4.3Agent Causation71
4.4C. D. Broad's Objection to the Very Idea of Agent Causation74
4.5Remarks on a Contemporary Alternative Account of Agent Causation76
4.6Ersatz Agent Causation?79
4.7Alternative Possibilities, Responsibility, and Agent Causation81
5Reasons and Causes85
5.1Reasons Explanation and the Agency Theory85
5.2Objections to the Account86
5.3Reasons and Contrastive Explanation91
5.4Reasons and Tendencies to Act: A Residual Problem and a Speculative Proposal95
5.5When Is the Will Free?101
6Agency, Mind, and Reductionism108
6.1Introductory Polemics: 'The Emerging Scientific Picture of the World'108
6.2Emergence110
6.3Emergence and Consciousness115
6.4The Emergence of Active Power121
6.5An Epistemological Objection to Agent Causation123
References127
Index133

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