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Agent Causation and the Alleged Impossibility of Rational Free Action

Chris Tucker
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 67, No. 1 (Jul., 2007), pp. 17-27
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27667907
Page Count: 11
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Agent Causation and the Alleged Impossibility of Rational Free Action
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Abstract

Galen Strawson has claimed that "the impossibility of free will and ultimate moral responsibility can be proved with complete certainty." Strawson, I take it, thinks that this conclusion can be established by one argument which he has developed. In this argument, he claims that rational free actions would require an infinite regress of rational choices, which is, of course, impossible for human beings. In my paper, I argue that agent causation theorists need not be worried by Strawson's argument. For agent causation theorists are able to deny a key principle which drives the regress. Oversimplifying things a bit, the principle states that if one is responsible for her rational actions, then she was antecedently responsible for the reasons on which she acted.

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