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Agent causation as a solution to the problem of action

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Michael Brent*
Department of Philosophy, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA


My primary aim is to defend a nonreductive solution to the problem of action. I argue that when you are performing an overt bodily action, you are playing an irreducible causal role in bringing about, sustaining, and controlling the movements of your body, a causal role best understood as an instance of agent causation. Thus, the solution that I defend employs a notion of agent causation, though emphatically not in defence of an account of free will, as most theories of agent causation are. Rather, I argue that the notion of agent causation introduced here best explains how it is that you are making your body move during an action, thereby providing a satisfactory solution to the problem of action.

Copyright © Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2017

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