Actions

Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 1 (2):129-144 (1975)
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Abstract

What distinguishes actions of persons from other events? Too big a question; we make a customary substitution: what distinguishes a person's raising his arm from a person's arm rising? In each case, the arm rises. But in the former, we have something in addition. Let us say that in the former case, the person causes the arm's rising. Our problem then is to interpret this notion of causation by an agent.It can be done, I believe, in terms of the notion of causation of events by other events-events which may not be “mental,” contrary to one common view. My account of agent causation is presented in the concluding section of this paper. I set the stage for this account by first examining rivals of three types: one asserting that agent causation is or involves a causal concept which cannot be interpreted further, but which we all understand well enough; one which invokes causation by mental events of certain kinds; and one which avoids all reference to causation.

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Citations of this work

The Existence of God.Richard Swinburne - 1979 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
Free Action.A. I. Melden - 1961 - Philosophy 37 (141):280-281.
Action and Purpose.Richard Taylor - 1966 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 22 (2):237-237.
Volition and basic action.Hugh McCann - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (4):451-473.
Trying.Brian O'Shaughnessy - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (13):365-386.

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