In chapter 5 of Ontology Revisited (Routledge, 2012), I undertook to show how Humeanism structures the contemporary free will problematic. In the paper attached below I set out what happens to the architecture of the problematic if one replaces the presumptive Humean metaphysics with a powers-based metaphysics. [Note: by “a powers-based metaphysics” I mean one involving powers-to-do that are had by things that are powerful; not “powers” or “potencies” conceived in terms of sequences or patterns of sequences. I make no claim that a revamped sequence-based ontology will change the terms of debate. For further discussion of this point, see “Whose Powers? Which Agency?” in Groff and Greco, Powers & Capacities in Philosophy (Routledge, 2012).]
Jonathan Webber has kindly agreed to offer some comments in reaction to the paper in due course. I hope that others will too. But feel free (or compelled, as you like) to share your thoughts about the issue even if you don’t read the paper. I mean it.
For people new to the topic, two important books in analytic philosophy on powers and free will are Personal Agency (Oxford, 2008), by the late Jonathan Lowe, and Persons & Causes, by Tim O’Connor (Oxford, 2000). Brian Ellis has written some on the issue, though not at length. I cite him in the paper. Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum are currently at work on a book, and have several papers forthcoming. Jonathan Lowe also contributed a wonderful chapter on his concept of the will to Powers & Capacities.
Here’s the link to the paper. “Sublating the Free Will Problematic: Powers, Agency and Causal Determination.” (If there is something legal that I am supposed to say about intellectual property, consider it said.) Powers and Free Will, April 2013, for PCD, 2