Free Will and Action Explanation: A Non-Causal, Compatibilist Account

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9780198758495: Free Will and Action Explanation: A Non-Causal, Compatibilist Account

Do we have free will and moral responsibility? Is free will compatible with determinism? Scott Sehon argues that we can make progress on these questions by focusing on an underlying issue: the nature of action explanation. When a person acts, or does something on purpose, we explain the behavior by citing the agent's reasons. The dominant view in philosophy of mind has been to construe such explanations as a species of causal explanation. Part I of the book proposes and defends a non-causal account of action and agency, according to which reason explanation of human behavior is irreducibly teleological rather than causal. Part II applies the teleological account of action to free will and responsibility, arguing that the free actions--the ones for which we are directly responsible--are the goal-directed actions, the actions that are teleologically explicable in terms of our reasons. It is then argued that this non-causal account of action undermines the appeal of incompatibilist arguments, arguments attempting to show that free will is not compatible with determinism. Beyond this, Sehon argues that the non-causal compatibilist account works well in practice: it is in accord with our clear intuitions about cases, and it both explains and provides guidance in the cases where our intuitions are murkier.

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About the Author:


Scott Sehon, Bowdoin College, Maine

Scott Sehon is Professor of Philosophy at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He received his PhD from Princeton University and his BA from Harvard. He is the author of Teleological Realism: Mind, Agency, and Explanation (MIT Press) as well as numerous articles concerning philosophy of mind and free will.

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"The book is wonderfully written, meticulously organized, carefully argued, richly informed by the relevant work of others, and philosophically rigorous. Part I is a sustained defense of teleology and criticism of causalism. Part II carves out a new position among compatibilist contenders." -- Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Online


"A well-written, engaging theory of agency, free will, and moral responsibility...In this book, Sehon makes substantial contributions to the contemporary debate over the compatibility of free will and determinism...Sehon's theory is one of the more original and promising compatibilist theories, and his arguments are clear, interesting, and well worth review for those interested in and familiar with the contemporary free will debate." -- Metapsychology Online Reviews


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Do we have free will and moral responsibility? Is free will compatible with determinism? Scott Sehon argues that we can make progress on these questions by focusing on an underlying issue: the nature of action explanation. When a person acts, or does something on purpose, we explain the behavior by citing the agent s reasons. The dominant view in philosophy of mind has been to construe such explanations as a species of causal explanation. Part I of the book proposes and defends a non-causal account of action and agency, according to which reason explanation of human behavior is irreducibly teleological rather than causal. Part II applies the teleological account of action to free will and responsibility, arguing that the free actions-the ones for which we are directly responsible-are the goal-directed actions, the actions that are teleologically explicable in terms of our reasons. It is then argued that this non-causal account of action undermines the appeal of incompatibilist arguments, arguments attempting to show that free will is not compatible with determinism. Beyond this, Sehon argues that the non-causal compatibilist account works well in practice: it is in accord with our clear intuitions about cases, and it both explains and provides guidance in the cases where our intuitions are murkier. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780198758495

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Do we have free will and moral responsibility? Is free will compatible with determinism? Scott Sehon argues that we can make progress on these questions by focusing on an underlying issue: the nature of action explanation. When a person acts, or does something on purpose, we explain the behavior by citing the agent s reasons. The dominant view in philosophy of mind has been to construe such explanations as a species of causal explanation. Part I of the book proposes and defends a non-causal account of action and agency, according to which reason explanation of human behavior is irreducibly teleological rather than causal. Part II applies the teleological account of action to free will and responsibility, arguing that the free actions-the ones for which we are directly responsible-are the goal-directed actions, the actions that are teleologically explicable in terms of our reasons. It is then argued that this non-causal account of action undermines the appeal of incompatibilist arguments, arguments attempting to show that free will is not compatible with determinism. Beyond this, Sehon argues that the non-causal compatibilist account works well in practice: it is in accord with our clear intuitions about cases, and it both explains and provides guidance in the cases where our intuitions are murkier. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780198758495

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Do we have free will and moral responsibility? Is free will compatible with determinism? Scott Sehon argues that we can make progress on these questions by focusing on an underlying issue: the nature of action explanation. When a person acts, or does something on purpose, we explain the behavior by citing the agent s reasons. The dominant view in philosophy of mind has been to construe such explanations as a species of causal explanation. Part I of the book proposes and defends a non-causal account of action and agency, according to which reason explanation of human behavior is irreducibly teleological rather than causal. Part II applies the teleological account of action to free will and responsibility, arguing that the free actions-the ones for which we are directly responsible-are the goal-directed actions, the actions that are teleologically explicable in terms of our reasons. It is then argued that this non-causal account of action undermines the appeal of incompatibilist arguments, arguments attempting to show that free will is not compatible with determinism. Beyond this, Sehon argues that the non-causal compatibilist account works well in practice: it is in accord with our clear intuitions about cases, and it both explains and provides guidance in the cases where our intuitions are murkier. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780198758495

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