Self-Forming Actions, Non-Self-Forming Actions, and Indeterminism: A Problem for Kane’s Libertarianism

Neil Campbell


Central to Robert Kane’s libertarian free will is the distinction between two kinds of action: (1) undetermined self-forming actions by means of which we shape our characters, and (2) actions that are determined by our freely formed characters. Daniel Dennett challenges the coherence of this distinction, but I argue that his arguments rely on highly controversial assumptions. In an effort to improve on Dennett’s criticism, I argue that some considerations about non-self-forming actions, when coupled with Kane’s naturalistic framework, imply that all choices are undetermined, which undercuts the distinction between his two categories of action. I then show that this conclusion threatens to undermine the very idea of self-formation Kane seeks to develop.


libertarianism; Robert Kane; indeterminism; self-formation


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