Necessarily, if S lacks the ability to exercise (some degree of) control, S is not an agent. If S is not an agent, S cannot act intentionally, responsibly, or rationally, nor can S possess or exercise free will. In spite of the obvious importance of control, however, no general account of control exists. In this paper I reflect on the nature of control itself. I develop accounts of control's exercise and control's possession that illuminate what it is for degrees of control-that is, the degree of control an agent possesses or exercises in a given circumstance-to vary. Finally, I demonstrate the usefulness of the account on offer by showing how it generates a solution to a long-standing problem for causalist theories of action, namely, the problem of deviant causation.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Control, Non-deviant causation, Philosophy of action
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11098-013-0236-1
Journal Philosophical Studies
Citation
Shepherd, J. (2014). The contours of control. Philosophical Studies, 170(3), 395–411. doi:10.1007/s11098-013-0236-1