Teleological Intelligibility

  • Created by: A. Person
  • Created on: 26-03-16 13:24

Agent Causation

This is the notion that agents are the first relata of the causal happenings wich make up free action.

Non-event causation by the agent.

CD Broad - agent causation must satisfy the following conditions:

1. Self/agent is sole cause of choice

2. Causation can be exercised in two directions

3. Causation of free choice action is causation of an event by a substance which cannot be explained as the causation of an occurrence by other occurrences

Aristotle suggested that while a stone is moved by a hand, and hand moved by the man, the man is a mover not so in virtue of anything else. Chisholm - free agents are essentially prime movers unmoved.

We're influenced by our genes, but we want the freedom that's left over - i.e. our choices can be restricted to A and B, but whether we chose A or B comes down to us.

Explanation and Ultimacy

Explanation Condition: can answer 'why did this act occur' solely with 'because the agent caused it to'

Ultimacy Condition: actions' occurring rather than not has its ultimate explanation in the fact that it is caused by the agent.

Kane's Criticism of Agent Causation

  • Kane opts for an approach that sees causal relation as holding between events - an effot of will + a decision
  • Event-causal libertarianism
  • Problem with agent causation is an incompatibility between ultimacy and explanation.
  • The ultimacy condition required indeterminism, but undetermined acts cannot be explained.
  • Radium atom analogy - we can explain the alarm going off with reference to the decay of the atom, but cannot explain why it decayed…


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