Results for 'causal theory of action'

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  1. Con-reasons and the causal theory of action.Jonathan D. Payton - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (1):20-33.
    A con-reason is a reason which plays a role in motivating and explaining an agent's behaviour, but which the agent takes to count against the course of action taken. Most accounts of motivating reasons in the philosophy of action do not allow such things to exist. In this essay, I pursue two aims. First, I argue that, whatever metaphysical story we tell about the relation between motivating reasons and action, con- reasons need to be acknowledged, as they (...)
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  2. Causation without the causal theory of action.Elena Popa - 2022 - Human Affairs 32 (4):389-393.
    This paper takes a critical stance on Tallis’s separation of causation and agency. While his critique of the causal theory of action and the assumptions about causation underlying different versions of determinism, including the one based on neuroscience is right, his rejection of causation (of all sorts) has implausible consequences. Denying the link between action and causation amounts to overlooking the role action plays in causal inference and in the origin of causal concepts. (...)
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  3. Natural Agency: An Essay on the Causal Theory of Action.John Bishop - 1989 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
    From a moral point of view we think of ourselves as capable of responsible actions. From a scientific point of view we think of ourselves as animals whose behaviour, however highly evolved, conforms to natural scientific laws. Natural Agency argues that these different perspectives can be reconciled, despite the scepticism of many philosophers who have argued that 'free will' is impossible under 'scientific determinism'. This scepticism is best overcome, according to the author, by defending a causal theory of (...)
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  4. Self-Movement and Natural Normativity: Keeping Agents in the Causal Theory of Action.Matthew McAdam - 2007 - Dissertation, Georgetown University
    Most contemporary philosophers of action accept Aristotle’s view that actions involve movements generated by an internal cause. This is reflected in the wide support enjoyed by the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), according to which actions are bodily movements caused by mental states. Some critics argue that CTA suffers from the Problem of Disappearing Agents (PDA), the complaint that CTA excludes agents because it reduces them to mere passive arenas in which certain events and processes take (...)
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  5. A Teleofunctionalist Solution to the Problem of Deviant Causal Chains of Actions.Jakob Roloff - 2022 - Kriterion – Journal of Philosophy (3-4):247-261.
    Donald Davidson’s causal theory of actions states that actions must be rationalized and caused by a belief-desire-pair. One problem of such a causal theory are cases of deviant causal chains. In these cases, the rationalized action is not caused in the right way but via a deviant causal chain. It therefore intuitively seems to be no action while all conditions of the causal theory are met. I argue that the problem (...)
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  6. Modeling Action: Recasting the Causal Theory.Megan Fritts & Frank Cabrera - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Contemporary action theory is generally concerned with giving theories of action ontology. In this paper, we make the novel proposal that the standard view in action theory—the Causal Theory of Action—should be recast as a “model”, akin to the models constructed and investigated by scientists. Such models often consist in fictional, hypothetical, or idealized structures, which are used to represent a target system indirectly via some resemblance relation. We argue that recasting the (...)
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  7. Mental Action and the Threat of Automaticity.Wayne Wu - 2013 - In Andy Clark, Julian Kiverstein & Tillman Vierkant (eds.), Decomposing the Will. Oxford University Press. pp. 244-61.
    This paper considers the connection between automaticity, control and agency. Indeed, recent philosophical and psychological works play up the incompatibility of automaticity and agency. Specifically, there is a threat of automaticity, for automaticity eliminates agency. Such conclusions stem from a tension between two thoughts: that automaticity pervades agency and yet automaticity rules out control. I provide an analysis of the notions of automaticity and control that maintains a simple connection: automaticity entails the absence of control. An appropriate analysis, however, shows (...)
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  8. Reason and Causation in Davidson's Theory of Action Explanation.Carlos J. Moya - 1998 - Critica 30 (89):29-43.
    Davidson’s famous 1963 paper “Actions, Reasons, and Causes” contains, in nuce, the main lines of Davidson’s philosophy of action and mind. It also contains the seeds of some major problems of Davidson’s thought in these fields. I shall defend, following Davidson, that rationalization or reasons explanation is a species of causal explanation, but I will be contending, against Davidson’s approach, that causality is best viewed, in this kind of explanation, as an integral aspect of justification itself, and not (...)
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  9. Motor Intentions and Non‐Observational Knowledge of Action: A Standard Story.Olle Blomberg & Chiara Brozzo - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):137-146.
    According to the standard story given by reductive versions of the Causal Theory of Action, an action is an intrinsically mindless bodily movement that is appropriately caused by an intention. Those who embrace this story typically take this intention to have a coarse-grained content, specifying the action only down to the level of the agent's habits and skills. Markos Valaris argues that, because of this, the standard story cannot make sense of the deep reach of (...)
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  10. Agency, ownership, and the standard theory.Markus E. Schlosser - 2010 - In Jesús H. Aguilar, Andrei A. Buckareff & Keith Frankish (eds.), New waves in philosophy of action. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 13-31.
    The causal theory of action has been the standard view in the philosophy of action and mind. In this chapter, I will present responses to two challenges to the theory. The first says, basically, that there is no positive argument in favour of the causal theory, as the only reason that supports it consists in the apparent lack of tenable alternatives. The second challenge says that the theory fails to capture the phenomenon (...)
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  11. Chrysippus' Theory of Causes.Susanne Bobzien - 1998 - In Katerina Ierodiakonou (ed.), Topics in stoic philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.
    ABSTRACT: A systematic reconstruction of Chrysippus’ theory of causes, grounded on the Stoic tenets that causes are bodies, that they are relative, and that all causation can ultimately be traced back to the one ‘active principle’ which pervades all things. I argue that Chrysippus neither developed a finished taxonomy of causes, nor intended to do so, and that he did not have a set of technical terms for mutually exclusive classes of causes. Rather, the various adjectives which he used (...)
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  12. Reasons explanations (of actions) as structural explanations.Megan Fritts - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12683-12704.
    Non-causal accounts of action explanation have long been criticized for lacking a positive thesis, relying primarily on negative arguments to undercut the standard Causal Theory of Action The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016). Additionally, it is commonly thought that non-causal accounts fail to provide an answer to Donald Davidson’s challenge for theories of reasons explanations of actions. According to Davidson’s challenge, a plausible non-causal account of reasons explanations must provide a way of connecting (...)
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  13. Causal potency of consciousness in the physical world.Danko D. Georgiev - 2024 - International Journal of Modern Physics B 38 (19):2450256.
    The evolution of the human mind through natural selection mandates that our conscious experiences are causally potent in order to leave a tangible impact upon the surrounding physical world. Any attempt to construct a functional theory of the conscious mind within the framework of classical physics, however, inevitably leads to causally impotent conscious experiences in direct contradiction to evolution theory. Here, we derive several rigorous theorems that identify the origin of the latter impasse in the mathematical properties of (...)
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  14. Narrative Explanations of Action. Narrative Identity with Minimal Requirements.Deniz A. Kaya - 2021 - Journal of Value Inquiry 1:1-17.
    In On Not Expecting Too Much from Narrative, Lamarque (2004) challenges theories of narrative identity. For while narrativity might tell us something of interest about our selves, the requirements for this would be so strong that theories of narrative identity would not be able to meet them. In contrast, he identifies minimal conditions for narrativity, so that our identity could be of a narrative nature as well. But in that case, the concept of narrativity would be so weak that it (...)
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  15. Are Reasons Causally Relevant for Action? Dharmakīrti and the Embodied Cognition Paradigm.Christian Coseru - 2017 - In Steven Michael Emmanuel (ed.), Buddhist Philosophy: A Comparative Approach. Hoboken, USA: Wiley Blackwell. pp. 109–122.
    How do mental states come to be about something other than their own operations, and thus to serve as ground for effective action? This papers argues that causation in the mental domain should be understood to function on principles of intelligibility (that is, on principles which make it perfectly intelligible for intentions to have a causal role in initiating behavior) rather than on principles of mechanism (that is, on principles which explain how causation works in the physical domain). (...)
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  16. Hegel and Analytic Philosophy of Action.Christopher Yeomans - 2010 - The Owl of Minerva 42 (1/2):41-62.
    A primary fault line in the analytic philosophy of action is the debate between causal/Davidsonian and interpretivist/Anscombian theories of action. The fundamental problem of the former is producing a criterion for distinguishing intentional from non-intentional causal chains; the fundamental problem of the latter is producing an account of the relation between reasons and actions that is represented by the ‘because’ in the claim that the agent acted because she had the reason. It is argued that Hegel’s (...)
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  17. Narrative Explanations of Action. Narrative Identity with Minimal Requirements.Deniz A. Kaya - 2023 - Journal of Value Inquiry 57 (4):719-735.
    In On Not Expecting Too Much from Narrative, Lamarque (2004) challenges theories of narrative identity. For while narrativity might tell us something of interest about our selves, the requirements for this would be so strong that theories of narrative identity would not be able to meet them. In contrast, he identifies minimal conditions for narrativity, so that our identity could be of a narrative nature as well. But in that case, the concept of narrativity would be so weak that it (...)
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  18. The Deviance in Deviant Causal Chains.Neil McDonnell - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):162-170.
    Causal theories of action, perception and knowledge are each beset by problems of so-called ‘deviant’ causal chains. For each such theory, counterexamples are formed using odd or co-incidental causal chains to establish that the theory is committed to unpalatable claims about some intentional action, about a case of veridical perception or about the acquisition of genuine knowledge. In this paper I will argue that three well-known examples of a deviant causal chain have (...)
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  19. Action and Rationalization.Samuel Asarnow - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy (TBA):758-773.
    According to the ‘standard story’ in the philosophy of action, actions are those movements of a creature’s body that are caused and rationalized by the creature’s mental states. The attractions of the causal condition have been widely discussed. The rationalization condition is nearly ubiquitous, but it is notoriously obscure, and its motivation has rarely been made explicit. This paper presents a new argument for including the rationalization condition in the causal theory of action, and sketches (...)
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  20. Wie kausal ist menschliches Handeln? Grenzen in der Naturalisierung menschlichen Handelns.Gasser Georg - 2011 - Zeitschrift Für Katholische Theologie 133 (3-4):361-381.
    This article argues that the causal theory of action cannot explain conscious human action adequately. Interpreting actions as bodily movements caused by (mental) states internal to the agent does not do justice to the particular role of the agent herself as ‘performing’ or ‘bringing about’ the action in the light of specific reasons. The only thing one can say about actions being distinct from other bodily movements such as automatic physiological processes or reflexes will employ (...)
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  21. Agency: Let's Mind What's Fundamental.Robert H. Wallace - 2023 - Philosophical Issues 33 (1):285–298.
    The standard event-causal theory of action says that an intentional action is caused in the right way by the right mental states. This view requires reductionism about agency. The causal role of the agent must be nothing over and above the causal contribution of the relevant mental event-causal processes. But commonsense finds this reductive solution to the “agent-mind problem”, the problem of explaining the relationship between agents and the mind, incredible. Where did the (...)
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  22. Agent causation as a solution to the problem of action.Michael Brent - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):656-673.
    My primary aim is to defend a nonreductive solution to the problem of action. I argue that when you are performing an overt bodily action, you are playing an irreducible causal role in bringing about, sustaining, and controlling the movements of your body, a causal role best understood as an instance of agent causation. Thus, the solution that I defend employs a notion of agent causation, though emphatically not in defence of an account of free will, (...)
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  23. Mental Causation, Autonomy and Action Theory.Dwayne Moore - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (1):53-73.
    Nonreductive physicalism states that actions have sufficient physical causes and distinct mental causes. Nonreductive physicalism has recently faced the exclusion problem, according to which the single sufficient physical cause excludes the mental causes from causal efficacy. Autonomists respond by stating that while mental-to-physical causation fails, mental-to-mental causation persists. Several recent philosophers establish this autonomy result via similar models of causation :1031–1049, 2016; Zhong, J Philos 111:341–360, 2014). In this paper I argue that both of these autonomist models fail on (...)
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  24. Causal Decision Theory and Decision Instability.Brad Armendt - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (5):263-277.
    The problem of the man who met death in Damascus appeared in the infancy of the theory of rational choice known as causal decision theory. A straightforward, unadorned version of causal decision theory is presented here and applied, along with Brian Skyrms’ deliberation dynamics, to Death in Damascus and similar problems. Decision instability is a fascinating topic, but not a source of difficulty for causal decision theory. Andy Egan’s purported counterexample to causal (...)
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  25. Causal Decision Theory, Context, and Determinism.Calum McNamara - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    The classic formulation of causal decision theory (CDT) appeals to counterfactuals. It says that you should aim to choose an option that would have a good outcome, were you to choose it. However, this version of CDT faces trouble if the laws of nature are deterministic. After all, the standard theory of counterfactuals says that, if the laws are deterministic, then if anything—including the choice you make—were different in the present, either the laws would be violated or (...)
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  26. Causality, Human Action and Experimentation: Von Wright's Approach to Causation in Contemporary Perspective.Elena Popa - 2017 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 93:355-373.
    This paper discusses von Wright's theory of causation from Explanation and Understanding and Causality and Determinism in contemporary context. I argue that there are two important common points that von Wright's view shares with the version of manipulability currently supported by Woodward: the analysis of causal relations in a system modelled on controlled experiments, and the explanation of manipulability through counterfactuals - with focus on the counterfactual account of unmanipulable causes. These points also mark von Wright's departure from (...)
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  27. Economics, Agency, and Causal Explanation.William Child - 2019 - In Peter Róna & László Zsolnai (eds.), Agency and Causal Explanation in Economics. Springer Verlag. pp. 53-67.
    The paper considers three questions. First, what is the connection between economics and agency? It is argued that causation and explanation in economics fundamentally depend on agency. So a philosophical understanding of economic explanation must be sensitive to an understanding of agency. Second, what is the connection between agency and causation? A causal view of agency-involving explanation is defended against a number of arguments from the resurgent noncausalist tradition in the literature on agency and action-explanation. If agency is (...)
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  28. Pluralistic Attitude-Explanation and the Mechanisms of Intentional Action.Daniel Burnston - 2021 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Volume 7. Oxford University Press. pp. 130-153.
    According to the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), genuine actions are individuated by their causal history. Actions are bodily movements that are causally explained by citing the agent’s reasons. Reasons are then explained as some combination of propositional attitudes – beliefs, desires, and/or intentions. The CTA is thus committed to realism about the attitudes. This paper explores current models of decision-making from the mind sciences, and argues that it is far from obvious how to locate the (...)
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  29. Action, Deviance, and Guidance.Ezio Di Nucci - 2013 - Abstracta (2):41-59.
    I argue that we should give up the fight to rescue causal theories of action from fundamental challenges such as the problem of deviant causal chains; and that we should rather pursue an account of action based on the basic intuition that control identifies agency. In Section 1 I introduce causalism about action explanation. In Section 2 I present an alternative, Frankfurt’s idea of guidance. In Section 3 I argue that the problem of deviant (...) chains challenges causalism in two important respects: first, it emphasizes that causalism fails to do justice to our basic intuition that control is necessary for agency. Second, it provides countless counterexamples to causalism, which many recent firemen have failed to extinguish – as I argue in some detail. Finally, in Section 4 I argue, contra Al Mele, that control does not require the attribution of psychological states as causes. (shrink)
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  30. The Causal and Deliberative Strength of Reasons for Action.David-Hillel Ruben - 2010 - In J. Aguilar & A. Buckareff (eds.), Causing Human Actions: New Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action. Bradford.
    Is the thought that having a reason for action can also be the cause of the action for which it is the reason coherent? This is an attempt to say exactly what is involved in such a thought, with special reference to the case of con-reasons, reasons that count against the action the agent eventually choses.
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  31. Group Action Without Group Minds.Kenneth Silver - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (2):321-342.
    Groups behave in a variety of ways. To show that this behavior amounts to action, it would be best to fit it into a general account of action. However, nearly every account from the philosophy of action requires the agent to have mental states such as beliefs, desires, and intentions. Unfortunately, theorists are divided over whether groups can instantiate these states—typically depending on whether or not they are willing to accept functionalism about the mind. But we can (...)
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  32. The Scope of Responsibility in Kant's Theory of Free Will.Benjamin Vilhauer - 2010 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (1):45-71.
    In this paper, I discuss a problem for Kant's strategy of appealing to the agent qua noumenon to undermine the significance of determinism in his theory of free will. I then propose a solution. The problem is as follows: given determinism, how can some agent qua noumenon be 'the cause of the causality' of the appearances of that agent qua phenomenon without being the cause of the entire empirical causal series? This problem has been identified in the literature (...)
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  33. Do Students See the “Selection” in Organic Evolution? A Critical Review of the Causal Structure of Student Explanations.Abhijeet Bardapurkar - 2008 - Evolution: Education and Outreach 1 (3):299-305.
    This paper critically reviews and characterizes the student's causal-explanatory understanding; this is done as a step toward explicating the problematic of evolution education as it concerns the cognitive difficulties in understanding Darwin's theory of natural selection. The review concludes that the student's understanding is fundamentally different from Darwin's, for the student understands evolutionary change as necessary individual transformation caused by the transformative action of various physical and behavioral factors. This is in complete contrast to Darwin's (and even (...)
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  34. I knew I Shouldn’t Do It; But I Did It: Davidson on Causal Strength and Weakness of Will.Rafael Martins - 2019 - Investigação Filosófica 10 (2):05-20.
    Reasons for action is a widely employed methodology in practical philosophy, and especially in moral philosophy. Reasons are facts that explain and justify actions. But, conceptually, if reasons were causes, incontinent actions would be impossible. When an agent ranks an evaluation about what to do as his best judgement, it entails that he has a reason for acting as that judgement prescribes. But when an agent acts incontinently, he acts in accordance to an intention that is not aligned with (...)
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  35. An Embodied Predictive Processing Theory of Pain.Julian Kiverstein, Michael David Kirchhoff & Mick Thacker - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (1):1-26.
    This paper aims to provide a theoretical framework for explaining the subjective character of pain experience in terms of what we will call ‘embodied predictive processing’. The predictive processing (PP) theory is a family of views that take perception, action, emotion and cognition to all work together in the service of prediction error minimisation. In this paper we propose an embodied perspective on the PP theory we call the ‘embodied predictive processing (EPP) theory. The EPP (...) proposes to explain pain in terms of processes distributed across the whole body. The prediction error minimising system that generates pain experience comprises the immune system, the endocrine system, and the autonomic system in continuous causal interaction with pathways spread across the whole neural axis. We will argue that these systems function in a coordinated and coherent manner as a single complex adaptive system to maintain homeostasis. This system, which we refer to as the neural-endocrine-immune (NEI) system, maintains homeostasis through the process of prediction error minimisation. We go on to propose a view of the NEI ensemble as a multiscale nesting of Markov blankets that integrates the smallest scale of the cell to the largest scale of the embodied person in pain. We set out to show how the EPP theory can make sense of how pain experience could be neurobiologically constituted. We take it to be a constraint on the adequacy of a scientific explanation of subjectivity of pain experience that it makes it intelligible how pain can simultaneously be a local sensing of the body, and, at the same time, a more global, all-encompassing attitude towards the environment. Our aim in what follows is to show how the EPP theory can meet this constraint. (shrink)
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  36. The luck argument against event-causal libertarianism: It is here to stay.Markus E. Schlosser - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (2):375-385.
    The luck argument raises a serious challenge for libertarianism about free will. In broad outline, if an action is undetermined, then it appears to be a matter of luck whether or not one performs it. And if it is a matter of luck whether or not one performs an action, then it seems that the action is not performed with free will. This argument is most effective against event-causal accounts of libertarianism. Recently, Franklin (Philosophical Studies 156:199–230, (...)
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  37. Dual-system theory and the role of consciousness in intentional action.Markus E. Schlosser - 2019 - In Bernard Feltz, Marcus Missal & Andrew Cameron Sims (eds.), Free Will, Causality, and Neuroscience. Leiden: Brill. pp. 35–56.
    According to the standard view in philosophy, intentionality is the mark of genuine action. In psychology, human cognition and agency are now widely explained in terms of the workings of two distinct systems (or types of processes), and intentionality is not a central notion in this dual-system theory. Further, it is often claimed, in psychology, that most human actions are automatic, rather than consciously controlled. This raises pressing questions. Does the dual-system theory preserve the philosophical account of (...)
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  38. An Anscombean Perspective on Habitual Action.Annemarie Kalis & Dawa Ometto - 2019 - Topoi 40 (3):637-648.
    Much of the time, human beings seem to rely on habits. Habits are learned behaviours directly elicited by context cues, and insensitive to short-term changes in goals: therefore they are sometimes irrational. But even where habitual responses are rational, it can seem as if they are nevertheless not done for reasons. For, on a common understanding of habitual behaviour, agents’ intentions do not play any role in the coming about of such responses. This paper discusses under what conditions we can (...)
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  39. Bending it like beckham: Movement, control and deviant causal chains.Markus E. Schlosser - 2010 - Analysis 70 (2):299-303.
    Like all causal theories in philosophy, the causal theory of action is plagued by the problem of deviant causal chains. I have proposed a solution on the basis of the assumption that mental states and events are causally efficacious in virtue of their contents. This solution has been questioned by Torbjörn Tännsjö (2009). First, I will reply to the objection, and then I will discuss Tännsjö’s alternative.
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  40. Non-Eliminative Reductionism: Not the Theory of Mind Some Responsibility Theorists Want, but the One They Need.Katrina L. Sifferd - 2018 - In Bebhinn Donnelly-Lazarov (ed.), Neurolaw and Responsibility for Action: Concepts, Crimes, and Courts. Cambridge University Press. pp. 71-103.
    This chapter will argue that the criminal law is most compatible with a specific theory regarding the mind/body relationship: non-eliminative reductionism. Criminal responsibility rests upon mental causation: a defendant is found criminally responsible for an act where she possesses certain culpable mental states (mens rea under the law) that are causally related to criminal harm. If we assume the widely accepted position of ontological physicalism, which holds that only one sort of thing exists in the world – physical stuff (...)
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  41. The Causal Map and Moral Psychology.Timothy Schroeder - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):347-369.
    Some philosophers hold that the neuroscience of action is, in practice or in principle, incapable of touching debates in action theory and moral psychology. The role of desires in action, the existence of basic actions, and the like are topics that must be sorted out by philosophers alone: at least at present, and perhaps by the very nature of the questions. This paper examines both philosophical and empirical arguments against the relevance of neuroscience to such questions (...)
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  42. Overdetermination in Intuitive Causal Decision Theory.Esteban Céspedes - 2013 - In Miguel Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V.
    Causal decision theory defines a rational action as the one that tends to cause the best outcomes. If we adopt counterfactual or probabilistic theories of causation, then we may face problems in overdetermination cases. Do such problems affect Causal decision theory? The aim of this work is to show that the concept of causation that has been fundamental in all versions of causal decision theory is not the most intuitive one. Since overdetermination poses (...)
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  43. Causal Theories of Spacetime.Sam Baron & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2024 - Noûs 58 (1):202-224.
    We develop a new version of the causal theory of spacetime. Whereas traditional versions of the theory seek to identify spatiotemporal relations with causal relations, the version we develop takes causal relations to be the grounds for spatiotemporal relations. Causation is thus distinct from, and more basic than, spacetime. We argue that this non-identity theory, suitably developed, avoids the challenges facing the traditional identity theory.
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  44. What Do Deviant Causal Chains Deviate From?Geert Keil - 2007 - In Christoph Lumer & Sandro Nannini (eds.), Intention, Deliberation and Autonomy. Ashgate. pp. 69-90.
    The problem of deviant causal chains is endemic to any theory of action that makes definitional or explanatory use of a causal connection between an agent’s beliefs and pro-attitudes and his bodily movements. Other causal theories of intentional phenomena are similarly plagued. The aim of this chapter is twofold. First, to defend Davidson’s defeatism. In his treatment of deviant causal chains, Davidson makes use of the clause “in the right way” to rule out (...) waywardness, but he regards any attempt at specifying ‘right’ sorts of causal histories as hopeless and even harmful. To my mind, Davidson’s defeatism contains a valuable insight, so I shall try to explain the reasons for it. Second, I shall try to answer a question that has often been ignored or passed over in the literature; namely the question of what it is that deviant causal chains deviate from. (shrink)
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  45. An Agent of Attention: An Inquiry into the Source of Our Control.Aaron Henry - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    When performing a skilled action—whether something impressive like a double somersault or something mundane like reaching for a glass of water—you exercise control over your bodily movements. Specifically, you guide their course. In what does that control consist? In this dissertation, I argue that it consists in attending to what you are doing. More specifically, in attending, agents harness their perceptual and perceptuomotor states directly and practically in service of their goals and, in doing so, settle the fine-grained manner (...)
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  46. Spontaneity, Democritean Causality and Freedom.Monte Ransome Johnson - 2009 - Elenchos 30 (1):5-52.
    Critics have alleged that Democritus’ ethical prescriptions (“gnomai”) are incompatible with his physics, since his atomism seems committed to necessity or chance (or an awkward combination of both) as a universal cause of everything, leaving no room for personal responsibility. I argue that Democritus’ critics, both ancient and contemporary, have misunderstood a fundamental concept of his causality: a cause called “spontaneity”, which Democritus evidently considered a necessary (not chance) cause, compatible with human freedom, of both atomic motion and human actions. (...)
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  47. If Anyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist, then Everyone Should Be an Agent-Causalist.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1101-1131.
    Nearly all defences of the agent-causal theory of free will portray the theory as a distinctively libertarian one — a theory that only libertarians have reason to accept. According to what I call ‘the standard argument for the agent-causal theory of free will’, the reason to embrace agent-causal libertarianism is that libertarians can solve the problem of enhanced control only if they furnish agents with the agent-causal power. In this way it is (...)
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  48. Causal theory of reference of Gareth Evans.Nicolae Sfetcu - manuscript
    Gareth Evans, in The Causal Theory of Names, states that the causal theory of reference needs to be expanded to include what he calls multiple "bases". After the initial baptism, the use of the name in the presence of the person can, under the right circumstances, be considered as reinforcing the name in its referent. For those who are in direct contact with the person, the reference for the expression of the name is solved by means (...)
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  49. Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agentive Control.Wayne Wu - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (1):101-26.
    This essay argues that current theories of action fail to explain agentive control because they have left out a psychological capacity central to control: attention. This makes it impossible to give a complete account of the mental antecedents that generate action. By investigating attention, and in particular the intention-attention nexus, we can characterize the functional role of intention in an illuminating way, explicate agentive control so that we have a uniform explanation of basic cases of causal deviance (...)
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  50. Causation, norms, and omissions: A study of causal judgments.Randolph Clarke, Joshua Shepherd, John Stigall, Robyn Repko Waller & Chris Zarpentine - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):279-293.
    Many philosophical theories of causation are egalitarian, rejecting a distinction between causes and mere causal conditions. We sought to determine the extent to which people's causal judgments discriminate, selecting as causes counternormal events—those that violate norms of some kind—while rejecting non-violators. We found significant selectivity of this sort. Moreover, priming that encouraged more egalitarian judgments had little effect on subjects. We also found that omissions are as likely as actions to be judged as causes, and that counternormative selectivity (...)
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