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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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Skepticism about Natural Agency and the Causal Theory of Action

Skepticism about Natural Agency and the Causal Theory of Action

(p.69) 5 Skepticism about Natural Agency and the Causal Theory of Action
Causing Human Actions

John Bishop

The MIT Press

This chapter argues that it is helpful for action theorists to be more explicit about what their larger motivations are, and to keep their theorizing consciously in contact with broader philosophical goals. Action theorists, particularly Wittgenstein, have often presupposed the existence of the question regarding what it is for something to count as an action. Wittgenstein posed the question “what is left over if I subtract the fact that my arm goes up from the fact that I raise my arm?” Alfred Mele, on the other hand, states that “one hopes that a full-blown philosophy of action will solve part of the mind-body problem and shed light on issues of free will, moral responsibility, and practical rationality.” Debates about action tend to lose focus unless they are consciously answerable to some specific motivation or motivations for philosophical interest in action.

Keywords:   action theorists, Wittgenstein, action, Alfred Mele, philosophy of action, mind-body problem, free will, moral responsibility, practical rationality

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