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Organon F

Volume 26, February 2019, Issue 1, Pages 122–140

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Research Article | Special issue on Causality, Free Will, and Divine Action

Active Doings and the Principle of the Causal Closure of the Physical World

Ansgar Beckermann

https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26108

Abstract

Some philosophers hold that it would be impossible for us to do something actively if the physical world were causally closed, i.e., if in the physical world all events were caused by other physical events if they are caused at all. The reason for this view is that these philosophers adhere to what I call the traditional picture of action. Recently, Martine Nida-Rümelin tried to defend this picture by phenomenological considerations. According to the traditional picture a behavior can only count as something an agent does actively if it is ultimately caused by the agent in an agent-causal way. In this paper I adduce three arguments against agent causation: (1) We do not really understand what agent causation is. (2) If agent causation were real, we would be confronted with the strange fact that human agents can only cause certain tiny events in the brain. (3) There is no empirical evidence that agent causation is real. In the last part of my paper I present an alternative account of the difference between what agents do actively and what is done to them.

Keywords

Active doings; agent causation; causal closure of the physical world; free will; Martine Nida-Rümelin; subject causation.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)

Author

Ansgar Beckermann

Affiliation

Bielefeld University

Address

Department of Philosophy, Bielefeld University, Postfach 10 01 31, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany

E-mail

ansgar.beckermann@uni-bielefeld.de

About this article

Received

13 July 2018

Accepted

4 December 2018

Published online

22 January 2019

Publishers

Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as

APA

Beckermann, A. (2019). Active Doings and the Principle of the Causal Closure of the Physical World. Organon F, 26(1), 122–140. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26108

Chicago

Beckermann, Ansgar . 2019. "Active Doings and the Principle of the Causal Closure of the Physical World." Organon F 26 (1): 122–140. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26108

Harvard

Beckermann, A. (2019). Active Doings and the Principle of the Causal Closure of the Physical World. Organon F, 26(1), pp. 122–140. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26108

Copyright information

© Ansgar Beckermann

Response page

https://www.sav.sk/index.php?lang=sk&doc=journal-list&part=article_response_page&journal_article_no=16042

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This article is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


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