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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J. David Velleman
New York University

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