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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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What Are You Causing in Acting?

What Are You Causing in Acting?

(p.101) 7 What Are You Causing in Acting?
Causing Human Actions

Stout Rowland

The MIT Press

This chapter presents arguments in opposition to the widespread view in the philosophy of action that what an agent is doing in acting in a certain kind of way is causing an event of some corresponding type. On this view agency is characterized by the agent’s causing of events. There is something amiss about the idea of causing an event despite its popularity in many philosophical circles. The relation of causing is similar to the property of acting; it is not a timeless relation, contrary to what philosophers presuppose when discussing the causal relation between events. Claims regarding the causal nature of action are sometimes presented as conceptual claims; in this chapter, the aim is to present a constitutive claim. The causal theories questioned here take the act of raising an arm to consist in the person, causing the event of the arm’s rising.

Keywords:   philosophy of action, agent, causing of events, property of acting, timeless relation, causal relation, causal nature of action, conceptual claims, constitutive claim

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