The metaphysics of free will and moral freedom in Thomas Reid

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The contemporary agent-cause theory inspired by Thomas Reid has faced the problem of how to resolve the issue of the regress to infinity of acts of the will to explain human moral freedom. The question is resolved, according to my proposal, by investigating its historical origin in the Enlightenment. We have to consider, on the one hand, Reid's rigorous Newtonianism, which allows him access to the knowledge of the existence of the will as a metaphysical faculty, against the tradition of Hobbes and Hume that took shape in his time. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that the same methodology does not allow Reid to make a metaphysical analysis of this faculty, leaving the problem mentioned above unresolved. But, we argue, it is possible to establish some connection between Bramhall and Reid. Thus, Bramhall explains metaphysically the activity of the will, against Hobbes, and his explanation solves the problem that Reid leaves unresolved.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)55-76
Number of pages22
JournalReview of Metaphysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


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