New Work on Agency and Responsibility


Deadline for submissions: February 1st, 2022

While some work in metaphysics addresses questions about free will directly, rather than through an analysis of our concepts, often what is of primary concern is how to analyze the concept of free will. Thus, the compatibility question, which asks whether free will is compatible with determinism, asks whether this concept might refer in a deterministic world. Similarly, the existence question, which asks whether humans actually have free will, asks whether the concept refers in the actual world. On this way of framing matters, questions arise about the nature of the concept and its reference. In recent years, a lively debate has emerged in this area, which addresses the question of whether free will exists by asking whether the concept free action refers. On this approach, if free action refers to any actual behaviors, free will exists; otherwise not. The ensuing debate focuses on whether we can preserve the concept rather than eliminate it, on the assumption that it is associated with errors. The most commonly suggested error is that the concept falsely presupposes indeterminism as being required for will. Many of these approaches have provided for more naturalistic alternatives to the traditional methods of philosophical work on free will.

In tandem with such work, philosophers have recently focused their attention on the phenomenology of agency in relation to free will, and on whether such phenomenology is compatibilist or libertarian. Additionally, a number of philosophers have addressed the question of whether free-agency phenomenology might help to fix the reference of the concept free action. 

As means of filling out these naturalistic frameworks, researchers across disciplines have recently developed new theories of moral responsibility, have surveyed people’s beliefs about self-control and free will, including cross-culturally, and have investigated agency and moral cognition in non-human animals as well as artificial moral agency.

Within this general conceptual frame, we invite contributions focused on the following aspects/topics:

  • Methodology and free will
  • Phenomenology of agency
  • Moral and legal responsibility
  • Science and agency
  • Artificially intelligent agency

 Contributions must be original and not under review elsewhere. All papers will be subject to double-anonymous peer-review. 

Manuscripts should be submitted online through Humana.Mente Editorial Manager:
Please follow the Author Guidelines: