Flanagan and Cartesian free will: a defense of agent causation
Lemos (John)
Source: Disputatio, Vol. II, No. 21, November 2006
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. In a recent book, The Problem of the Soul, Owen Flanagan discusses the Cartesian, or agent causation1, view of free will.
  2. According to this view, when a person acts of his own free will his action is not caused by antecedent events but is caused by the agent himself, and in acting the agent acts as an uncaused cause.
  3. Flanagan argues at length that this view is false.
  4. In this article, I defend the agent causation2 view against Flanagan’s criticisms and I go on to critically address his own ‘neo-compatibilist’ alternative to the agent causation3 view. In doing so, I hope to exhibit some common misconceptions about the nature of the agent causation4 view and to show that this is a view that deserves more serious consideration.

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