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Explaining action

Philosophical Review 112 (3):339-393 (2003)

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  1. Unity of Reasons.Adam Cureton - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (4):877-895.
    There are at least two basic normative notions: rationality and reasons. The dominant normative account of reasons nowadays, which I call primitive pluralism about reasons, holds that some reasons are normatively basic and there is no underlying normative explanation of them in terms of other normative notions. Kantian constructivism about reasons, understood as a normative rather than a metaethical view, holds that rationality is the primitive normative notion that picks out which non-normative facts are reasons for what and explains why (...)
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  • Normative Source and Extensional Adequacy.Jeff Behrends - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (3):1-26.
    Internalists about practical reasons maintain that all of an agent’s reasons for action derive their normative force via some relation in which they stand with that agent’s pro-attitudes, or the pro-attitudes that the agent would have in some idealized set of circumstances. One common complaint against internalism is that the view is extensionally inadequate – that it cannot render the correct verdicts about what reasons agents have in a range of important cases. In this paper, I examine that charge of (...)
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  • Constitutivism Without Normative Thresholds.Kathryn Lindeman - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 3 (XII):231-258.
    Constitutivist accounts in metaethics explain the normative standards in a domain by appealing to the constitutive features of its members. The success of these accounts turns on whether they can explain the connection between normative standards and the nature of individuals they authoritatively govern. Many such explanations presuppose that any member of a norm-governed kind must minimally satisfy the norms governing its kind. I call this the Threshold Commitment, and argue that constitutivists should reject it. First, it requires constitutivists to (...)
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  • Requirements of intention in light of belief.Carlos Núñez - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2471-2492.
    Much work in the philosophy of action in the last few decades has focused on the elucidation and justification of a series of purported norms of practical rationality that concern the presence or absence of intention in light of belief, and that demand a kind of structural coherence in the psychology of an agent. Examples of such norms include: Intention Detachment, which proscribes intending to do something in case some condition obtains, believing that such condition obtains, and not intending to (...)
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  • Reflection and Responsibility.Pamela Hieronymi - 2014 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 42 (1):3-41.
    A common line of thought claims that we are responsible for ourselves and our actions, while less sophisticated creatures are not, because we are, and they are not, self-aware. Our self-awareness is thought to provide us with a kind of control over ourselves that they lack: we can reflect upon ourselves, upon our thoughts and actions, and so ensure that they are as we would have them to be. Thus, our capacity for reflection provides us with the control over ourselves (...)
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  • Ontological-Transcendental Defence of Metanormative Realism.Michael Kowalik - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (2):573-586.
    If there is something that every possible agent is committed to value, and certain actions or attitudes either enhance or diminish P, then normative claims about a range of intentional actions can be objectively and non-trivially evaluated. I argue that the degree of existence as an agent depends on the consistency of reflexive-relating with other individuals of the agent-kind: the ontological thesis. I then show that in intending to act on a reason, every agent is rationally committed to value being (...)
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  • Intentions and the Reasons for Which We Act.Ulrike Heuer - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (3pt3):291-315.
    Many of the things we do in the course of a day we don't do intentionally: blushing, sneezing, breathing, blinking, smiling—to name but a few. But we also do act intentionally, and often when we do we act for reasons. Whether we always act for reasons when we act intentionally is controversial. But at least the converse is generally accepted: when we act for reasons we always act intentionally. Necessarily, it seems. In this paper, I argue that acting intentionally is (...)
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  • Neo-Kantian Constructivism and Metaethics.Kirk Surgener - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    Christine Korsgaard has attempted to defend a distinct approach to metaethics – Neo-Kantian Constructivism. Not only does she present a positive case for her own view, she also attacks existing metaethical positions and even the disctinctions that metaethics has traditionally relied on. This thesis is a sustained examination of this position. I consider whether Korsgaard can legitimately claim to be offering a metaethical position at all, providing her with some defence against the scepticism of some metaethicists. I also examine her (...)
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  • Agency, Shmagency: Why Normativity Won't Come From What Is Constitutive of Action.David Enoch - 2006 - Philosophical Review 115 (2):169-198.
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  • Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist.Joshua Knobe - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.
    It has often been suggested that people’s ordinary capacities for understanding the world make use of much the same methods one might find in a formal scientific investigation. A series of recent experimental results offer a challenge to this widely-held view, suggesting that people’s moral judgments can actually influence the intuitions they hold both in folk psychology and in causal cognition. The present target article distinguishes two basic approaches to explaining such effects. One approach would be to say that the (...)
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  • Knowing What I Have Done.Matthias Haase - 2018 - Manuscrito 41 (4):195-253.
    The literature on agentive or practical knowledge tends to be focused on knowing what one is doing or what one is going to do. Knowing what one has done and has achieved thereby seems to be another matter. In fact, achievements are often taken to be beyond the ken of practical knowledge. I argue that this is a mistake. The intelligibility of the very idea of practical knowledge depends on the possibility of knowing one's achievements in the same manner. For (...)
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  • On the Rationalist Solution to Gregory Kavka's Toxin Puzzle.Ken Levy - 2009 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):267-289.
    Gregory Kavka's 'Toxin Puzzle' suggests that I cannot intend to perform a counter-preferential action A even if I have a strong self-interested reason to form this intention. The 'Rationalist Solution,' however, suggests that I can form this intention. For even though it is counter-preferential, A-ing is actually rational given that the intention behind it is rational. Two arguments are offered for this proposition that the rationality of the intention to A transfers to A-ing itself: the 'Self-Promise Argument' and David Gauthier's (...)
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  • The Social Origin and Moral Nature of Human Thinking.Jeremy I. M. Carpendale, Stuart I. Hammond & Charlie Lewis - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):334.
    Knobe's laudable conclusion that we make sense of our social world based on moral considerations requires a development account of human thought and a theoretical framework. We outline a view that such a moral framework must be rooted in social interaction.
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  • Constitutivism and the Inescapability of Agency.Luca Ferrero - 2009 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:303-333.
    Constitutivism argues that the source of the categorical force of the norms of rationality and morality lies in the constitutive features of agency. A systematic failure to be guided by these norms would amount to a loss or lack of agency. Since we cannot but be agents, we cannot but be unconditionally guided by these norms. The constitutivist strategy has been challenged by David Enoch. He argues that our participation in agency is optional and thus cannot be a source of (...)
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  • The Will as Reason.Pamela Hieronymi - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):201-220.
    I here defend an account of the will as practical reason —or, using Kant's phrase, as " reason in its practical employment"—as against a view of the will as a capacity for choice, in addition to reason, by which we execute practical judgments in action. Certain commonplaces show distance between judgment and action and thus seem to reveal the need for a capacity, in addition to reason, by which we execute judgment in action. However, another ordinary fact pushes in the (...)
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  • Inescapability and the Analysis of Agency.Philip Clark - 2014 - Abstracta 8 (S7):3-15.
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  • Constitutive Arguments.Ariela Tubert - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (8):656-666.
    Can the question "Why do what morality requires?" be answered in such a way that anyone regardless of their desires or interests has reason to be moral? One strategy for answering this question appeals to constitutive arguments. In general, constitutive arguments attempt to establish the normativity of rational requirements by pointing out that we are already committed to them insofar as we are believers or agents. This study is concerned with the general prospects for such arguments. It starts by explaining (...)
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  • Intending is Believing: A Defense of Strong Cognitivism.Berislav Marušić & John Schwenkler - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (3):309-340.
    We argue that intentions are beliefs—beliefs that are held in light of, and made rational by, practical reasoning. To intend to do something is neither more nor less than to believe, on the basis of one’s practical reasoning, that one will do it. The identification of the mental state of intention with the mental state of belief is what we call strong cognitivism about intentions. It is a strong form of cognitivism because we identify intentions with beliefs, rather than maintaining (...)
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  • The Motivational Structure of Appreciation.Servaas van der Berg - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):445-466.
    On a widely held view in aesthetics, appreciation requires disinterested attention. George Dickie famously criticized a version of this view championed by the aesthetic attitude theorists. I revisit his criticisms and extract an overlooked challenge for accounts that seek to characterize appreciative engagement in terms of distinctive motivation: at minimum, the motivational profile such accounts propose must make a difference to how appreciative episodes unfold over time. I then develop a proposal to meet this challenge by drawing an analogy between (...)
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  • Divine Desire Theory and Obligation.Christian Miller - 2009 - In Yujin Nagasawa & Erik J. Wielenberg (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 105--24.
    Thanks largely to the work of Robert Adams and Philip Quinn, the second half of the twentieth century witnessed a resurgence of interest in divine command theory as a viable position in normative theory and meta-ethics. More recently, however, there has been some dissatisfaction with divine command theory even among those philosophers who claim that normative properties are grounded in God, and as a result alternative views have begun to emerge, most notably divine intention theory (Murphy, Quinn) and divine motivation (...)
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  • A Puzzle About Knowledge in Action.Iskra Fileva - 2013 - Logique Et Analyse 56 (223):287-301.
    I question the widespread assumption that when we act for reasons we know what our reasons are. I argue that an agent may act in ignorance, or partial ignorance, regarding his or her reasons, and an action involving ignorance of this sort may still qualify as done for reasons. I conclude from here that we need to develop a suitable new model of action for reasons, and I proceed to offer such a model. Briefly, I argue that an action qualifies (...)
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  • Belief and Difficult Action.Berislav Marušić - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12:1-30.
    Suppose you decide or promise to do something that you have evidence is difficult to do. Should you believe that you will do it? On the one hand, if you believe that you will do it, your belief goes against the evidence—since having evidence that it’s difficult to do it constitutes evidence that it is likely that you won’t do it. On the other hand, if you don’t believe that you will do it but instead believe, as your evidence suggests, (...)
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  • Divine Will Theory: Desires or Intentions?Christian Miller - 2009 - In Jonathan Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press.
    Due largely to the work of Mark Murphy and Philip Quinn, divine will theory has emerged as a legitimate alternative to divine command theory in recent years. As an initial characterization, divine will theory is a view of deontological properties according to which, for instance, an agent S‟s obligation to perform action A in circumstances C is grounded in God‟s will that S A in C. Characterized this abstractly, divine will theory does not specify which kind of mental state is (...)
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  • Explaining the Disquotational Principle.Jeff Speaks - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):211-238.
    Questions about the relative priorities of mind and language suffer from a double obscurity. First, it is often not clear which mental and linguistic facts are in question: we can ask about the relationship between any of the semantic or syntactic properties of public languages and the judgments, intentions, beliefs, or other propositional attitudes of speakers of those languages. Second, there is an obscurity about what 'priority' comes to here.We can approach the first problem by way of the second. Often, (...)
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  • Inescapability Revisited.Luca Ferrero - 2018 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 41 (4):113-158.
    According to constitutivism, the objective authority of practical reason is to be grounded in the constitutive features of agency. In this paper, I offer a brief survey of the basic structure of constitutive argument about objectivity and consider how constitutivism might dispel the worry that it can only ground a conditional kind of authority. I then consider David Enoch’s original shmagency challenge and the response in terms of the inescapability of agency. In particular, I revisit the appeal to inescapability in (...)
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  • Constructivism in Ethics.Carla Bagnoli (ed.) - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    Are there such things as moral truths? How do we know what we should do? And does it matter? Constructivism states that moral truths are neither invented nor discovered, but rather are constructed by rational agents in order to solve practical problems. While constructivism has become the focus of many philosophical debates in normative ethics, meta-ethics and action theory, its importance is still to be fully appreciated. These new essays written by leading scholars define and assess this new approach in (...)
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  • Can There Be a Global, Interesting, Coherent Constructivism About Practical Reason?David Enoch - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (3):319-339.
    More and more people seem to think that constructivism - in political philosophy, in moral philosophy, and perhaps in practical reasoning most generally - is the way to go. And yet it is surprisingly hard to even characterize the view. In this paper, I go to some lengths trying to capture the essence of a constructivist position - mostly in the realm of practical reason - and to pinpoint its theoretical attractions. I then give some reason to suspect that there (...)
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  • Constitutivism and Normativity: A Qualified Defence.Stefano Bertea - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (1):81-95.
    In this article, I defend a meta-normative account of constitutivism by specifically addressing what I take to be a fundamental criticism of the constitutivist stance, namely, the objection that constitutive standards have conceptual, not normative, force, and so that no practical normativity can be extracted from them as constitutive of agency. In reply to this objection, I argue that the conceptual role of the standards constitutive of agency? their applying to us by virtue of our being the kinds of creatures (...)
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  • Is Epistemic Normativity Value-Based?Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2017 - Dialogue 56 (3):407-430.
    What is the source of epistemic normativity? In virtue of what do epistemic norms have categorical normative authority? According to epistemic teleologism, epistemic normativity comes from value. Epistemic norms have categorical authority because conforming to them is necessarily good in some relevant sense. In this article, I argue that epistemic teleologism should be rejected. The problem, I argue, is that there is no relevant sense in which it is always good to believe in accordance with epistemic norms, including in cases (...)
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  • On Korsgaard’s Argument for Kant’s Moral Law.Amir Saemi - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
    Kant’s formula of universal law says that it is morally impermissible to act on maxims which lead to a contradiction, when universalized. Korsgaard famously argues that we should understand the contradiction involved in Kant’s formula of universal law test as practical contradiction. In her later works, Korsgaard provides an argument for the truth of Kant’s moral law from the principles that are, on her view, constitutive of human agency, including the principle of publicity, the principle of universality and the hypothetical (...)
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  • Agency, Shmagency: Why Normativity Won't Come From What is Constitutive of Action.David Enoch - 2006 - Philosophical Review 115 (2):169-198.
    There is a fairly widespread—and very infl uential—hope among philosophers interested in the status of normativity that the solution to our metaethical and, more generally, metanormative problems will emerge from the philosophy of action. In this essay, I will argue that these hopes are groundless. I will focus on the metanormative hope, but—as will become clear—showing that the solution to our metanormative problems will not come from what is constitutive of action will also devastate the hope of gaining significant insight (...)
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  • Person as Lawyer: How Having a Guilty Mind Explains Attributions of Intentional Agency.Frank Hindriks - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):339-340.
    In criminal law, foresight betrays a guilty mind as much as intent does: both reveal that the agent is not properly motivated to avoid an illegal state of affairs. This commonality warrants our judgment that the state is brought about intentionally, even when unintended. In contrast to Knobe, I thus retain the idea that acting intentionally is acting with a certain frame of mind.
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  • Identifying with Our Desires.Christian Miller - 2013 - Theoria 79 (2):127-154.
    A number of philosophers have become convinced that the best way of trying to understand human agency is by arriving at an account of identification. My goal here is not to criticize particular views about identification, but rather to examine several assumptions which have been widely held in the literature and yet which, in my view, render implausible any account of identification that takes them on board. In particular, I argue that typically identification does not involve either reflective consideration of (...)
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  • Motivation in Agents.Christian Miller - 2008 - Noûs 42 (2):222–266.
    The Humean theory of motivation remains the default position in much of the contemporary literature in meta-ethics, moral psychology, and action theory. Yet despite its widespread support, the theory is implausible as a view about what motivates agents to act. More specifically, my reasons for dissatisfaction with the Humean theory stem from its incompatibility with what I take to be a compelling model of the role of motivating reasons in first-person practical deliberation and third-person action explanations. So after first introducing (...)
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  • Realism and Constructivism in Kantian Metaethics 1 : Realism and Constructivism in a Kantian Context.Karl Schafer - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (10):690-701.
    Metaethical constructivism is one of the main movements within contemporary metaethics – especially among those with Kantian inclinations. But both the philosophical coherence and the Kantian pedigree of constructivism are hotly contested. In the first half of this article, I first explore the sense in which Kant's own views might be described as constructivist and then use the resulting understanding as a guide to how we might think about Kantian constructivism today. Along the way, I hope to suggest that a (...)
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  • Rationality, Coherence, Convergence: A Critical Comment on Michael Smith's Ethics and the a Priori.David Enoch - 2007 - Philosophical Books 48 (2):99-108.
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  • Agency and Awareness.Chrisoula Andreou - 2013 - Ratio 26 (2):117-133.
    I focus on the idea that if, as a result of lacking any conscious goal related to X-ing and any conscious anticipation or awareness of X-ing, one could sincerely reply to the question ‘Why are you X-ing?’ with ‘I didn't realize I was doing that,’ then one's X-ing is not intentional. My interest is in the idea interpreted as philosophically substantial (rather than merely stipulative) and as linked to the familiar view that there is a major difference, relative to the (...)
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  • Action.George Wilson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    If a person's head moves, she may or may not have moved her head, and, if she did move it, she may have actively performed the movement of her head or merely, by doing something else, caused a passive movement. And, if she performed the movement, she might have done so intentionally or not. This short array of contrasts (and others like them) has motivated questions about the nature, variety, and identity of action. Beyond the matter of her moving, when (...)
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  • Normativity and Self-Relations.Yair Levy - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (2):359-374.
    The paper criticizes two prominent accounts which purport to explain normativity by appealing to some relation that one bears to oneself. Michael Bratman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would fail to govern oneself. And David Velleman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would be less intelligible to oneself. Both Bratman and Velleman argue in quite different ways that rational coherence is normative because it is necessary for the (...)
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