What Happens When Someone Acts?

Mind 101 (403):461-481 (1992)
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Abstract

What happens when someone acts? A familiar answer goes like this. There is something that the agent wants, and there is an action that he believes conducive to its attainment. His desire for the end, and his belief in the action as a means, justify taking the action, and they jointly cause an intention to take it, which in turn causes the corresponding movements of the agent's body. I think that the standard story is flawed in several respects. The flaw that will concern me in this paper is that the story fails to include an agent-or, more precisely, fails to cast the agent in his proper role.

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Author's Profile

J. David Velleman
New York University

Citations of this work

Free will.Timothy O'Connor & Christopher Evan Franklin - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Knowledge, practical knowledge, and intentional action.Joshua Shepherd & J. Adam Carter - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9:556-583.
Autonomy, Rationality, and Contemporary Bioethics.Jonathan Pugh - 2020 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational action: studies in philosophy and social science. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.
Freedom Within Reason.Susan R. Wolf - 1990 - New York: Oup Usa.
Free agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (April):205-20.
On Action.Carl Ginet - 1990 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

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