From the post cited above:
Ñāṇa wrote:This passage is refuting the notion that there is a permanent self as the agent controlling the aggregates or within the aggregates which is not subject to old age and death. It does not mean that there is no volitional freedom to choose available to us.
AN 6.38 Attakāra Sutta: …
Just because there is no permanent undying self as the agent controlling the aggregates or within the aggregates does not mean that there is no conscious, volitional self-agency operating.
Kalupahana was making a similar point in The Notion of suffering in early Buddhism compared with some reflections of early Wittgenstein
, with reference to SN.12.20 Paccaya Sutta; that although all phenomena are causally conditioned
), only some phenomena are dispositionally determined
)(p. 425) "...this human personality is nothing but a "bundle of dispositions" (sankhārapuñja
). Yet, through attachment and confusion, man clings to the belief in a substantial self or a metaphysical subject (atta
), permanent (nicca
) and eternal (sassata
), on the basis of the wrong understanding of “Thinker therefore I am” (manta asmi
(22) = cogito ergo sum
). … While there is no real self or soul that serves as an agent, sankhāras
are real and active within their own sphere, within the world directed and determined by sankhāras
, that is, the sphere of the sankhata
22. Sutta-nipāta ed. D. Anderson and H. Smith (London: Pali Text Society, 1913), 916.