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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article surveys recent agent-causal (AC) theories, explaining their motivations through a discussion of mechanism, teleology, and agency. It considers different accounts of the agent-causal relation by, among others, libertarians such as C. A. Campbell, Roderick Chisholm, Richard Taylor, John Thorp, Michael Zimmerman, Richard Swinburne, Godfrey Vesey, Alan Donagan, William Rowe, and Randolph Clarke. It also poses the question whether agent-causal theories require a substance dualism of mind and body—as many philosophers have suspected they must, since they posit a sui generis causal relation between an agent and action that is irreducible to ordinary modes of causation. It is argued that AC theories do not necessarily require substance dualism but may require some sort of strong emergence of mind from matter. Some contemporary dualist accounts of free agency in the light are also discussed.

Keywords: libertarianism, human agency, causation, dualism, free agency, mechanism, teleology

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