• Pointless Suffering? How to Make the Problem of Evil Sufficiently Serious
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 2 (1). 2010.
  •  11
    Dretske on the Metaphysics of Freedom
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (4): 619-630. 1993.
    Most philosophers of action have seen little or no connection between the individuation of action and questions of freedom and responsibility. Is this a mistake? According to a recent suggestion by Fred Dretske it may be. Dretske views overt actions not as observable events with a distinctive sort of causal history, but rather as causal sequences, in which a distinctive sort of inner cause produces the appropriate outcome. So when Jimmy voluntarily wiggles his ears, the motion of his ears is not…Read more
  •  4
    Springs of Action: Understanding Intentional Behavior
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (4): 979-982. 1994.
  •  19
    Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason
    Noûs 25 (2): 230. 1991.
  •  8
    Practical Reason: Philosophical Papers, Volume I
    with G. H. Von Wright
    Noûs 22 (1): 150. 1988.
  •  35
    A Paradigm Theory of Existence: Onto-Theology Vindicated (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 58 (3): 687-688. 2005.
    This book offers an extended argument that the existence of contingent things is grounded in and hence accounted for by a paradigm existent, which is none other than existence itself—in effect, the ipsum esse subsistens of traditional philosophical theology. Much of the focus is on the nature of contingent existence, which the author contends is a genuine determination of real individuals, though not a property in the usual sense. This implies rejection of a number of other accounts of individua…Read more
  •  194
    Volition and basic action
    Philosophical Review 83 (4): 451-473. 1974.
    The purpose of this paper is to defend the view that the bodily actions of men typicaly involve a mental action of voliton or willing, and that such mental acts are, in at least one important sense, the basic actions we perform when we do things like raise an arm, move a finger, or flex a muscle
  •  39
    The Works of Agency: On Human Action, Will, and Freedom
    with Carl Ginet
    Philosophical Review 109 (4): 632. 2000.
    This book comprises eleven essays in the philosophy of action, six of which were previously published. The book has a fairly extensive index. The essays are arranged in four groups. The first group contains two essays on the individuation of action. The second contains four essays that argue for the view that what makes an event an action is, not how it is caused, but that it is, or begins with, a volition, “an intrinsically actional” mental event. The third contains three essays that defend the…Read more
  •  36
    Sovereignty and freedom: A reply to Rowe
    Faith and Philosophy 18 (1): 110-116. 2001.
    I have defended the view that God’s complete sovereignty over the universe, which requires that he be creatively responsible for our decisions, is compatible with libertarian free will. William Rowe interprets me as holding that this is entirely owing to God’s being timelessly eternal, and argues that God’s decisions as creator would still be determining in a way that destroys freedom. His argument overlooks an important part of my view-an account of creation according to which God’s will as cre…Read more
  •  85
    Making decisions
    Philosophical Issues 22 (1): 246-263. 2012.
  •  544
    Intentional action and intending: Recent empirical studies
    Philosophical Psychology 18 (6): 737-748. 2005.
    Recent empirical work calls into question the so-called Simple View that an agent who A’s intentionally intends to A. In experimental studies, ordinary speakers frequently assent to claims that, in certain cases, agents who knowingly behave wrongly intentionally bring about the harm they do; yet the speakers tend to deny that it was the intention of those agents to cause the harm. This paper reports two additional studies that at first appear to support the original ones, but argues that in fact…Read more
  •  38
    Dretske on the metaphysics of freedom
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (4): 619-630. 1993.
    Contrary to Dretske's view, treating actions as causal complexes wherein inner states produce external results does not permit us to claim that even if their components are caused, the actions are not. What triggers the initial element of a causal sequence causes the sequence itself, so whatever might cause the relevant inner state would also cause the action. Dretske's claim that the failure of my agency to extend to the results of actions I induce in others is owing to the "sensitivity" of tho…Read more
  •  154
    Responsibility for an action requires what Professor McCann calls an exercise of legitimate agency of the part of an agent, a necessary condition for which is libertarian freedom. Free decisions are to be explained teleologically, not causally. Agent causation cannot account for the existence of a free decision, but neither does event causation account for the existence of determined events. The problem of accounting for the existence of a free decision is therefore of a piece with the problem o…Read more
  •  100
    The Simple View again: a brief rejoinder
    Analysis 71 (2): 293-295. 2011.
    In a recent issue of Analysis I gave a critique of some arguments made by Di Nucci concerning the so-called Simple View – the view that an agent performs an action intentionally only if he intends so to act. In turn Di Nucci offers a reply that concentrates on two points. The first has to do with a group of examples, one having to do with waking a flatmate, and the others with routine actions such as shifting gears while driving. I rejected these examples, arguing that it is not at all obvious t…Read more
  •  43
    Paralysis and the spring of action
    Philosophia 25 (1-4): 481. 1997.
  •  63
  •  83
    Divine Sovereignty and the Freedom of the Will
    Faith and Philosophy 12 (4): 582-598. 1995.
    Libertarian treatments of free will face the objection that an uncaused human decision would lack full explanation, and hence violate the principle of sufficient reason. It is argued that this difficulty can be overcome if God, as creator, wills that I decide as I do, since my decision could then be explained in terms of his will, which must be for the best. It is further argued that this view does not make God the author of evil in any damaging sense. Neither does it impugn my freedom. God’s cr…Read more
  •  12
    Book reviews (review)
    Mind 103 (409): 99-102. 1994.
  •  52
    Rationality and the Range of Intention
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 10 (1): 191-211. 1986.
  •  94
    Settled objectives and rational constraints
    American Philosophical Quarterly 28 (1): 25-36. 1991.
    Some authors reject what they call the "Simple View"---i.e., the principle that anyone who A's intentionally intends to A. My purpose here is to defend this principle. Rejecting the Simple View, I shall claim, forces us to assign to other mental states the functional role of intention: that of providing settled objectives to guide deliberation and action. A likely result is either that entities will be multiplied, or that the resultant account will invite reassertion of reductionist theories. In…Read more
  •  83
    Mind in Action
    with Bede Rundle
    Philosophical Review 108 (4): 566. 1999.
    To readers familiar with action theory as it was done thirty years ago, this book will strike a familiar chord. It presents an account of action of the sort that typified the ordinary language movement: fundamentally logical-behaviorist in its theory of mind, negatively disposed toward mental acts, anti-causalist in its account of explanation by reasons, and compatibilistic in its view of freedom. The object is to show that the ordinary concept of action is secured at the observational level, an…Read more
  •  45
    Intention and Motivational Strength
    Journal of Philosophical Research 20 571-583. 1995.
    One of the principal preoccupations of action theory is with the role of intention in the production of action. It should be expected that this role would be important, since an item of behavior appears to count as action just when there is some respect in which it is intended by the agent. This being the case, an account of the function of intention should provide insight into how human action might differ from other sorts of events, what the foundations of human autonomy may be, etc. But the c…Read more
  •  104
    Divine providence
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
  •  2
    Alan Donagan, The Philosophical Papers of Alan Donagan Reviewed by
    Philosophy in Review 16 (2): 93-97. 1996.
  •  19
    The trouble with level-generation
    Mind 91 (364): 481-500. 1982.
  •  35
    Practical Rationality
    Journal of Philosophical Research 15 57-77. 1990.
    Recent views on practical rationality harmonize well with a fundamentally Kantian conception of the foundations of morality. Rationality in practical thinking is not a matter of valid reasoning, or of foIlowing maximization principles. From an agent-centered perspective, it consists in observing certain standards of consistency. In themselves, these standards lack the force of duties, hence there can be no irresolvable conflict between rationality and morality. Furthermore, the Kantian test of u…Read more
  •  86
    Is Raising One's Arm a Basic Action?
    Journal of Philosophy 69 (9): 235. 1972.
    I hold no view as to what actions are basic, but I shall attempt to show in what follows that actions like raising an arm never are. My contention is that these actions involve actions of physical exertion on the part of the agent, the involvement being of a sort generally taken to be excluded by an actions being basic.
  •  1
    Edwards on Free Will.”
    In Paul Helm & Oliver Crisp (eds.), Jonathan Edwards: Philosophical Theologian, Burlington, Vt: Ashgate Publishing Co.. pp. 27--43. 2003.