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Agents, Causes, and Events

Essays on Indeterminism and Free Will

Edited by Timothy O'Connor

Publication Date - February 1995

ISBN: 9780195091571

28 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


Many philosophers are persuaded by familiar arguments that free will is incompatible with causal determinism. Yet, notoriously, past attempts to articulate how the right type of indeterminism might secure the capacity for autonomous action have generally been regarded as either demonstrably inadequate or irremediably obscure. This volume gathers together the most significant recent discussions concerning the prospects for devising a satisfactory indeterministic account of freedom of action. These essays give greater precision to traditional formulations of the problems associated with indeterministic accounts and to the range of theoretical avenues for pursuing resolutions. The first four essays set out different challenges (from both compatibilists and those skeptical of the possibility of free will) to the adequacy of standard indeterministic theories. The next seven essays meet one or more of these challenges. Each of the fundamental types of approach--simple indeterminism, causal indeterminism, and agent causation--is represented in these novel and sophisticated proposals. The collection finishes with two essays that debate whether compatibilism entails that freedom of choice is a comparatively rare phenomenon within an individual's life. Eloquently presenting some of the most compelling and accessible arguments surrounding this central philosophical issue, Agents, Causes, and Events makes a valuable contribution to courses in free will/action theory and metaphysics.


"A nice collection of newer articles on free will....I might consider using this [text] or making it a recommended reading."--Mark van Roojen, University of Nebraska

"An immensely helpful collection for courses in the philosophy of mind and theory of action."--Robert Welshon, University of Colorado

Table of Contents

    Part I. Problems for Indeterministic Accounts of Free Will
    1. Strawson/Libertarianism, Action and Self-Determination
    2. Nagel/The Problem of Autonomy
    3. Dennett/On Giving Libertarians What They Say They Want
    4. Double/Libertarianism and Rationality
    Part II. Indeterminism and Free Will: Contemporary Proposals
    5. Ginet/Reason and Explanation of Action: An Incompatibilist Account
    6. Chisholm/Agents, Causes and Events: The Problem of Free Will
    7. Nozik/Choice and Indeterminism
    8. Kane/Two Kinds of Incompatibilism
    9. Rowe/Two Concepts of Freedom
    10. O'Connor/Agent Causation
    11. Clarke/Toward a Credible Agent-Causal Account of Free Will
    Part III. Indeterminism and the Extent of Free Will
    12. Peter Van Inwagen/When is the Will Free?
    13. Fischer and Ravizza/When the Will is Free?