Berkeley, Human Agency and Divine Concurrentism

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Berkeley, Human Agency and Divine Concurrentism

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Title: Berkeley, Human Agency and Divine Concurrentism
Author: McDonough, Jeffrey K
Citation: McDonough, Jeffrey K. 2008. Berkeley, Human Agency and Divine Concurrentism. Journal of the History of Philosophy 46(4): 567-590.
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Abstract: Berkeley ’s commentators have been highly critical of his account of human agency. In this essay I argue that there is a rather straightforward reading of his view that is historically sensitive, philosophically well-motivated, and fits squarely with his texts. The paper falls into four main sections. The first section briefly revisits three options concerning the relationship between human and divine agency available to theistically minded philosophers in the medieval and early modern eras. The second argues that of those three views only the position of concurrentism is consistent with Berkeley’s texts. The third section explores Berkeley’s reasons for adopting concurrentism, especially as opposed to occasionalism, by highlighting three motivating considerations drawn from his larger philosophical system. Finally the fourth section attempts to flesh out Berkeley’s understanding of human activity by looking at how we might understand his claim that we move our legs ourselves in light of his commitments to idealism and concurrentism.
Published Version: doi:10.1353/hph.0.0056
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