Abstract for Pereboom’s Talk

According to the standard version of event-causal libertarianism, control is a causal matter, and all causation is causation by events. I argue that given these commitments, event-causal libertarianism lacks the resources to explain how an agent can settle which decision occurs in a situation in which motivations for competing actions are in equipoise, and that therefore the view cannot secure a robust, desert-invoking, sort of moral responsibility. This “disappearing agent” argument assumes, as does Helen Steward’s (2012) account, that the notion of settling which decision or action occurs is crucial to this sort of moral responsibility. Two further questions might be asked: (1) can a disappearing agent argument show that agency is not possible given event-causal libertarianism? (2) Can a disappearing agent argument show that agency is not possible given event-causal determinism? I provide reasons for answering each in the affirmative.