Chapter

The Metaphysics of Free Will

Timothy O'Connor

in Persons and Causes

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195153743
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199867080 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019515374X.003.0004
 The Metaphysics of Free Will

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This chapter develops the basic metaphysics of agent causation. The author analyzes causal notions generally in terms of the notion of ’causal power’ or ’causal capacity.’ The difference between event (or broadly mechanistic) causation and agent (or personal) causation concerns the way in which causal capacities are exercised. With event causation, the capacity to generate a particular effect (in some cases, from a range of possible effects) is exercised ’as a matter of course’: having the capacity in the right circumstances directly gives rise to what is either its unique characteristic effect or one of the effects within its characteristic range. By contrast, having the properties that subserve an agent‐causal capacity doesn’t produce an effect; rather, it enables the agent to freely determine an effect (within a circumscribed range).

Keywords: agent causation; Armstrong; causal power; event causation; Principle of Alternative Possibilities; properties; Tooley; universals

Chapter.  10046 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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