Thomas Reid on Active Power and Free Agency

In: Frontiers of Philosophy in China

The paper argues that it is a mistake to interpret Thomas Reid as holding a libertarian notion of freedom, and to make use of Reid to argue in support of a libertarian position. More precisely, this paper shows that Reid’s theory of agent-causation may not be what these philosophers take it to be, once such crucial notions as agent-causation and active power in Reid’s theory of free agency have been fully explicated. Reid is more committed to accepting the view of freedom as rational self-control over the determination of the will than a contracausal view of freedom.

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