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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 Standard Story of Action : An Exchange (2)

The Standard Story of Action : An Exchange (2)

(p.56) (p.57) 4 The Standard Story of Action : An Exchange (2)
Causing Human Actions

Hornsby Jennifer

The MIT Press

This chapter is a response to the arguments presented in the previous one. The previous chapter’s criticisms were directed against philosophers who argue that deficiencies in the standard story of action are to be addressed through the addition of states of different sorts from beliefs and desires to the causes of bodily movements. These philosophers fail to address the question of whether their story contains the causal notions that belong in an account of human agency or not. According to Michael Smith, this argument charges the standard story with incompleteness, which is a misleading notion. It was never suggested that the story required completion, even if it was posited that the causal role of agents ceases to exist in an events-based conception of the causal order. This chapter aims to show that the standard story stops making sense once it is accepted that a person’s acting is a matter of exercising a capacity he or she possesses as agent.

Keywords:   standard story of action, bodily movements, human agency, Michael Smith, causal role of agents, events-based conception, causal order

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