Libertarian Views: Dualist and Agent-Causal Theories
Book: Oxford Handbook of Free Will 1st Ed
This essay will canvass recent philosophical accounts of human agency that deploy a notion of "self" (or "agent") causation. Some of these accounts try to explicate this notion, whereas others only hint at its nature in contrast with the causality exhibited by impersonal physical systems. In these latter theories, the authors' main argumentative burden is that the apparent fundamental differences between personal and impersonal causal activity strongly suggest mind-body dualism. I begin by noting two distinct, yet not commonly distinguished, philosophical motivations for pursuing an agent-causal account of human agency. In the course of discussing the accounts developed by some philosophers in response to these considerations, I reconsider both the linkage of agent causation with mind-body dualism and its sharp cleavage from impersonal (or "event") causation.