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Title: Intentional agency
Author: Evans, Zack
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 0059
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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There are two central arguments in this project. The first is a kind of ‘second-order’ argument, that is, an argument about the dialectical situation of an existing argument (namely, about the ‘free will problem’). The second is a straightforward argument about agency, but one which can be better addressed—I claim—once the second-order argument has been made. The ‘free will problem’ is widely claimed to be one of the perennial philosophical problems. But it is not one that has any widely accepted solution. The reason for this, as others have acknowledged, is due in large part to the wide range of problems that have historically been considered under the rubric of ‘the free will problem’. My proposal is straightforward: stop talking about ‘free will’ altogether! More precisely, my claim is that we could—in principle— eliminate the term. However, it may be more difficult in practise to actually cease using the term, and so my prescription is to define the term operationally, as a philosophers’ technical term. As I will go on to explain, ‘free will’ means something like: ‘whatever it is, if anything, in virtue of which people are appropriate subjects of moral responsibility’. The second argument then becomes apparent: setting aside the question of moral responsibility, we can see that there are a number of putative ‘free will’ issues that don’t go away. While most things can be sectioned off into the moral responsibility debate, as explained above, several of these issues actually turn out to depend on the concept of agency. This has not previously been recognised because of the structure of the ‘free will debate’, and especially because of its fixation on the notions of determinism and indeterminism. I then go on to sketch the outlines of a positive account of agency that can independently address those concerns which were previously thought to be about ‘free will’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology