Deviant causal chains

Erasmus Mayr

in Understanding Human Agency

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606214
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731631 | DOI:
Deviant causal chains

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The fifth chapter turns to the ‘mode’ of agential control which defenders of the standard model propose, which consists in an event-causal link between an appropriate mental state of the agent, mostly claimed to be an intention, and the resulting bodily motion. The central problem for this proposal is the problem of deviant causal chains, where a motion which fits the agent's intention is caused, but not in the right way. After elaborating the standard of adequacy an event-causalist solution to this problem would have to meet, four different event-causalist approaches to the problem of causal deviance, including proposals from Alfred Mele, Christopher Peacocke, John Bishop and Ralph Stoecker, are discussed and either rejected, or shown to contain unreduced agential concepts and thus to be inadequate as reductive analyses of agency. This result completes the criticism of the event-causalist standard model of agency.

Keywords: deviant causal chains; antecedential waywardness; Bishop; Peacocke; Mele; Stoecker

Chapter.  19868 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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