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Causing Human ActionsNew Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action$
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Jesús H. Aguilar and Andrei A. Buckareff

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014564

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014564.001.0001

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The Causal Theory of Action : Origins and Issues

The Causal Theory of Action : Origins and Issues

(p.1) 1 The Causal Theory of Action : Origins and Issues
Causing Human Actions

Aguilar Jesús H.

Buckareff Andrei A.

The MIT Press

This introduction offers a brief historical examination of the three key stages of the development of the causal theory of action (CTA), namely, the ancient classical period represented by the work of Aristotle, the early modern period represented by the work of Thomas Hobbes, and the contemporary period represented by the work of Donald Davidson. Usually, philosophy of action is interpreted either broadly, including all of the problems in philosophy dealing with human action and agency, or more narrowly, concerned merely with the cluster of issues dealing directly with the nature of intentional action and the explanation of action. However the philosophy of action is characterized, only a single theory has recently enjoyed the title of “the standard story” of human action and agency in the literature, and that pleasure belongs to the CTA. This chapter presents contemporary versions of the CTA and the main topics of debate surrounding it.

Keywords:   causal theory of action, CTA, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, Donald Davidson, philosophy of action, intentional action, explanation of action, the standard story

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