Personal Agency: The Metaphysics of Mind and Action

Hardcover | October 15, 2008

byE. J. Lowe

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Personal Agency consists of two parts. In Part II, a radically libertarian theory of action is defended which combines aspects of agent causalism and volitionism. This theory accords to volitions the status of basic mental actions, maintaining that these are spontaneous exercises of thewill--a 'two-way' power which rational agents can freely exercise in the light of reason. Lowe contends that substances, not events, are the causal source of all change in the world--with rational, free agents like ourselves having a special place in the causal order as unmoved movers, or initiatorsof new causal chains. And he defends a thoroughgoing externalism regarding reasons for action, holding these to be mind-independent worldly entities rather than the beliefs and desires of agents. Part I prepares the ground for this theory by undermining the threat presented to it by physicalism. Itdoes this by challenging the causal closure argument for physicalism in all of its forms and by showing that a dualistic philosophy of mind--one which holds that human mental states and their subjects cannot be identified with bodily states and human bodies respectively--is both metaphysicallycoherent and entirely consistent with known empirical facts.

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Personal Agency consists of two parts. In Part II, a radically libertarian theory of action is defended which combines aspects of agent causalism and volitionism. This theory accords to volitions the status of basic mental actions, maintaining that these are spontaneous exercises of thewill--a 'two-way' power which rational agents can...

E. J. Lowe was educated at the Universities of Cambridge (1968-72) and Oxford (1972-5). He has been a member of the Philosophy Department at Durham University since 1980 and a Professor since 1995. He is the author of many books and articles on metaphysics, the philosophy of mind and action, the philosophy of logic and language, and t...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.82 inPublished:October 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199217149

ISBN - 13:9780199217144

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: Mental Causation, Causal Closure, and Emergent Dualism1. Self, Agency, and Mental Causation2. Causal Closure Principles and Emergentism3. Physical Causal Closure and the Invisibility of Mental Causation4. Could Volitions be Epiphenomenal?5. The Self as an Emergent SubstancePart II: Persons, Rational Action, and Free Will6. Event Causation and Agent Causation7. Personal Agency8. Substance Causation, Persons, and Free Will9. Rational Selves and Freedom of Action10. Needs, Facts, Goodness, and TruthBibliographyIndex