Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, 6:369

Thomas Reid on active power and free agency

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11466-011-0145-3

Cite this article as:
Xu, X. Front. Philos. China (2011) 6: 369. doi:10.1007/s11466-011-0145-3


The paper argues that it is a mistake to interpret Thomas Reid as holding a libertarian notion of freedom, and to make use of Reid to argue in support of a libertarian position. More precisely, this paper shows that Reid’s theory of agent-causation may not be what these philosophers take it to be, once such crucial notions as agent-causation and active power in Reid’s theory of free agency have been fully explicated. Reid is more committed to accepting the view of freedom as rational self-control over the determination of the will than a contracausal view of freedom.


active powerpassive powerwillingagent-causationvoluntary actiondetermination

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyPeking UniversityBeijingChina