Download e-book for kindle: Agency and Action (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement; by John and Helen Steward, editors Hyman

By John and Helen Steward, editors Hyman

ISBN-10: 0521603560

ISBN-13: 9780521603560

This choice of unique essays by means of best philosophers covers the full diversity of the philosophy of motion.

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Additional info for Agency and Action (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement; 55)

Example text

For each normative explanation, then, a shadow causal explanation seems to be just waiting in the wings. Why suppose otherwise? This is the issue which the present paper is about. In pursuing it, I will take it as granted for present purposes that I am right in the account I give of the reasons for which agents act. Normative explanations give the agent's reasons for doing what she did, and they are the only explanations that do this. Causal explanations, then, whatever their form, will not be attempting to do this as well.

But such an explanation cannot be factive, in the sense given above, since it can perfectly well be expanded thus: His reason for doing it was that it would increase his pension, but he was sadly mistaken about that. Now this claim, if true, seems to establish immediately that the sort of explanation at issue, which I call (for reasons which will be investigated in due course) a normative explanation, is not itself a causal explanation. For causal explanations are factive, whatever else they are, and need to be so for the purposes which they serve; but my 'normative' explanation is non-factive.

I understand the idea of an empirical preference (because things normally go that way) and that of a normative preference (because they should go that way), but I don't understand the idea of a conceptual preference. If our concepts are, ' Not only might one suggest this; Michael Ridge did suggest it to me, at the conference. 41 Jonathan Dancy as it were, designed for the case where things do go that way, how can those concepts be used to characterize a case in which thing don't go that way? There is a further question about whether these dispositional explanations are really causal at all.

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Agency and Action (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement; 55) by John and Helen Steward, editors Hyman


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