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The Harvard Review of Philosophy

Volume 24, 2017

John Heil
Pages 9-22
DOI: 10.5840/harvardreview201761210

Real Agency

Peter van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument makes salient the difficulties facing attempts to reconcile determinism and agency. Others go further. Derk Pereboom, for instance, contends that science provides compelling evidence that no action is free, and Galen Strawson argues that conditions for genuinely free action are flatly unsatisfiable. Against such skepticism about free will, the paper introduces considerations in support of the idea that there are probably good reasons to think that conditions for free actions—real agency—are sometimes satisfied, that ascriptions of agency are sometimes true, but that truthmakers for these ascriptions could be wholly deterministic in a way that might seem to, but does not in fact, place them at odds with the possibility of genuinely free action.