Physicalism and the determination of action


in Free Will and Modern Science

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264898
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754074 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Original Paperbacks

Physicalism and the determination of action

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There is no single version of physicalism. There is no single argument for physicalism. There is, accordingly, no standard answer concerning the implications of physicalism for the causation of human action by mental states. This chapter begins by describing a preferred version of physicalism and its implications about the connection between subjects' mental states and what they do, and thereby for the determination and predictability of our actions. This serves as a precursor for a short discussion of the implications of physicalism for the possibility of free action. The chapter also discusses an anomalous physicalism that holds it is a mistake in principle to identify the mental and the physical, in the sense of identifying mental and physical kinds. At first blush, this kind of physicalism might seem good news for those who worry about the implications of physicalism for freedom. However, it is shown that the good news is not that good.

Keywords: mental states; free action; physicalism; human action

Chapter.  6706 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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