Freedom, compulsion, and causation

Jenann Ismael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The intuitive notion of cause carries with it the idea of compulsion. When we learn that the dynamical laws are deterministic, we give this a causal reading and imagine our actions compelled to occur by conditions laid down at the beginning of the universe. Hume famously argued that this idea of compulsion is borrowed from experience and illegitimately projected onto regularities in the world. Exploiting the interventionist analysis of causal relations, together with an insight about the degeneracy of one’s epistemic relations to one’s own actions, I defend a Humean position with regard to the idea of causal compulsion. Although I discuss only compulsion, a similar story could be told about the temporal directedness of causation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsyche (Pasadena)
Issue number2007
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Asymmetry
  • Cartwright
  • Causal phenomenology
  • Causation
  • Compulsion
  • Freedom
  • Hume
  • Intervention
  • Pearl
  • Projection
  • Reflexivity
  • Russell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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