About this topic
Summary The Causal Theory of Action (CTA) is often referred to as "the standard story" of human action and agency in the philosophy of action. Strictly speaking, it is misleading to think of the CTA as a single theory of action. A better way to think about the CTA is in terms of a set of theories that bear a family resemblance by accepting the following schema about what makes some behavior count as an action and what explains an action: Any behavior A (whether overt or mental) of an agent S is an action if and only if S's A-ing is caused in the right way and causally explained by some appropriate nonactional mental item(s) that mediate or constitute S's reasons for A-ing.
Key works Perhaps the touchstone essay for contemporary formulations of the CTA is Davidson 1963. For a review of the historical development of the CTA, including a discussion of the refinements of the CTA that have been offered, along with a survey of  some problems faced by the theory and proposed solutions, see the introductory essay in Aguilar & Buckareff 2010. For seminal recent refinements of the CTA, see Bishop 1990, Enc 2006, Mele 1992, Mele 2000, Mele 2003Stout 1996, and the essays in Aguilar & Buckareff 2010.
Introductions For an accessible introduction to options in the theory of action, including variants of CTA, see the introduction to Aguilar & Buckareff 2010 and Brand 1979.
  Show all references
Related categories
Siblings:See also:
388 found
Search inside:
(import / add options)   Sort by:
1 — 50 / 388
  1. John L. Ackrill (1978). Aristotle on Action. Mind 87 (348):595-601.
  2. Frederick Adams (1989). Tertiary Waywardness Tamed. Crítica 21 (61):117 - 125.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  3. Frederick Adams (1986). Intention and Intentional Action: The Simple View. Mind and Language 1 (4):281-301.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  4. Frederick Adams & Alfred Mele (1989). The Role of Intention in Intentional Action. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 19 (4):511 - 531.
  5. Laird Addis (1981). Dispositions, Explanation, and Behavior. Inquiry 24 (2):205 – 227.
    According to the theory of dispositions here defended, to have a disposition is to have some (non-dispositional) property that enters into a law of a certain form. The theory does not have the crucial difficulty of the singular material implication account of dispositions, but at the same time avoids the unfortunate notion of 'reduction sentences'. It is further argued that no dispositional explanation is one of the covering-law type; but the theory shows how, for any dispositional explanation! To construct a (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  6. J. H. Aguilar (2005). How We Act: Causes, Reasons, and Intentions. Philosophical Review 114 (4):548-550.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (6 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  7. J. Aguilar & A. Buckareff (eds.) (2010). Causing Human Action: New Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action. Bradford.
  8. Jesús H. Aguilar (2012). Basic Causal Deviance, Action Repertoires, and Reliability. Philosophical Issues 22 (1):1-19.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (7 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  9. Jesús H. Aguilar (2007). Interpersonal Interactions and the Bounds of Agency. Dialectica 61 (2):219–234.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (6 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  10. Jesús H. Aguilar, Agency and Control.
    The main objective of this thesis is to defend an account of the control that agents possess over their actions from the perspective of the causal theory of action, that is, a theory that sees actions as events caused by internal states of their agents. The explanatory strategy that is employed for this purpose consists in addressing three interdependent and fundamental problems concerning the possibility of this type of control. The first problem arises from the possibility of controlling an action (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  11. Jesús H. Aguilar & Andrei A. Buckareff (2009). Agency, Consciousness, and Executive Control. Philosophia 37 (1):21-30.
    On the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), internal proper parts of an agent such as desires and intentions are causally responsible for actions. CTA has increasingly come under attack for its alleged failure to account for agency. A recent version of this criticism due to François Schroeter proposes that CTA cannot provide an adequate account of either the executive control or the autonomous control involved in full-fledged agency. Schroeter offers as an alternative a revised understanding of the proper role of (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (6 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  12. Jesús H. Aguilar, Andrei A. Buckareff & Keith Frankish (eds.) (2010). New Waves in Philosophy of Action. Palgrave Macmillan.
  13. Jesus Aguilar & Andrei A. Buckareff (eds.) (2009). Philosophy of Action: 5 Questions. Automatic Press/VIP.
  14. Mark Alicke & David Rose (2012). Culpable Control and Deviant Causal Chains. Personality and Social Psychology Compass 6 (10):723-735.
    Actions that are intended to produce harmful consequences can fail to achieve their desired effects in numerous ways. We refer to action sequences in which harmful intentions are thwarted as deviant causal chains. The culpable control model of blame (CCM)is a useful tool for predicting and explaining the attributions that observers make of the actors whose harmful intentions go awry. In this paper, we describe six types of deviant causal chains; those in which: an actor’s attempt is obviated by the (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  15. M. Alvarez (2012). Action, Ethics, and Responsibility * Edited by Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke and Harry S. Silverstein * Causing Human Actions: New Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action * Edited by Jesus H. Aguilar and Andrei A. Buckareff. [REVIEW] Analysis 72 (1):190-193.
  16. Maria Alvarez, The Causalism/Anti-Causalism Debate in the Theory of Action: What It is and Why It Matters.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  17. Holly Andersen, Causation and the Awareness of Agency.
    I criticize the tendency to address the causal role of awareness in agency in terms of the awareness of agency, and argue that this distorts the causal import of experimental results in significant ways. I illustrate, using the work of Shaun Gallagher, how the tendency to focus on the awareness of agency obscures the role of extrospective awareness by considering it only in terms of what it contributes to the awareness of agency. Focus on awareness of agency separates awareness from (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  18. Julia Annas (1976). Davidson and Anscombe on `the Same Action'. Mind 85 (338):251-257.
  19. David M. Armstrong (1975). Beliefs and Desires as Causes of Actions: A Reply to Donald Davidson. Philosophical Papers 4 (May):1-7.
  20. Robert Audi (1993). Action, Intention, and Reason. Cornell University Press.
    In this collection of essays, Audi develops a general theory of action ranging from the nature of action and action-explanation to free and rational action.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  21. Robert Audi (1979). Wants and Intentions in the Explanation of Action. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 9 (3):227–249.
    This paper replies to criticisms of the author's accounts of intending ("journal of philosophy", 1973), wanting ("philosophical studies", 1973), and common-sense explanations of intentional actions; and it extends the nomological theory of intentional action developed in those and other articles. the paper argues, negatively, that theoretical construct accounts of intentional concepts do not entail implausible views of self-knowledge, nor assimilate reasons to mechanical causes; and, positively, that both the way in which reasons render intelligible the actions they explain and the (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (6 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  22. Robert N. Audi (1993). Mental Causation: Sustaining and Dynamic. In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press.
    I. the view that reasons cannot be causes. II. the view that the explanatory relevance of psychological states such as beliefs and intentions derives from their content, their explanatory role is not causal and we thus have no good reason to ascribe causal power to them. III. the idea that if the mental supervenes on the physical, then what really explains our actions is the physical properties determining our propositional attitudes, and not those attitudes themselves. IV. the thesis that since (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  23. Lynne Rudder Baker (2011). First-Personal Aspects of Agency. Metaphilosophy 42 (1-2):1-16.
    Abstract: On standard accounts, actions are caused by reasons (Davidson), and reasons are taken to be neural phenomena. Since neural phenomena are wholly understandable from a third-person perspective, standard views have no room for any ineliminable first-personal elements in an account of the causation of action. This article aims to show that first-person perspectives play essential roles in both human and nonhuman agency. Nonhuman agents have rudimentary first-person perspectives, whereas human agents—at least rational agents and moral agents—have robust first-person perspectives. (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (8 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  24. Lynne Rudder Baker (2002). Attitudes in Action: A Causal Account. Manuscrito 25 (3):47-78.
    This article aims to vindicate the commonsensical view that what we think affects what we do. In order to show that mental properties like believing, desiring and intending are causally explanatory, I propose a nonreductive, materialistic account that identifies beliefs and desires by their content, and that shows how differences in the contents of beliefs and desires can make causal differences in what we do.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  25. Zvie A. Bar-On (1974). Causes and Reasons. Philosophia 4 (4):559-560.
  26. Peter Brian Barry, Intentional Action, Causation, and Deviance.
    It is reasonably well accepted that the explanation of intentional action is teleological explanation. Very roughly, an explanation of some event, E, is teleological only if it explains E by citing some goal or purpose or reason that produced E. Alternatively, teleological explanations of intentional action explain “by citing the state of affairs toward which the behavior was directed” thereby answering questions like “To what end was the agent’s behavior directed?” Causalism—advocated by causalists—is the thesis that explanations of intentional action (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  27. S. Bassford (1974). Enigmas of Agency: Studies in the Philosophy of Human Action. By Irving Thalberg. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.; New York: Humanities Press Inc., 1972. Pp. 229. $14.75. [REVIEW] Dialogue 13 (03):619-621.
  28. Rod Bertolet (1979). McKinsey, Causes and Intentions. Philosophical Review 88 (4):619-632.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  29. Henk Bij de Weg, Dretske and the Causality of Reasons.
    In his work on reasons Dretske argues that reasons are only worthwhile for having them if they are causally relevant for explaining behaviour, which he elaborates in his representational theory of explanation. The author argues against this view by showing that there are reasons that are relevant for explaining behaviour but not causally relevant. He gives a linguistic foundation of his argumentation and shows that Dretske’s representational theory cannot explain human actions because man does not only perceive things that have (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  30. Renée Bilodeau (2006). The Motivational Strength of Intentions. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 9:129-135.
    According to the early versions of the causal theory of action, intentional actions were both produced and explained by a beliefdesire pair. Since the end of the seventies, however, most philosophers consider intentions as an irreducible and indispensable component of any adequate account of intentional action. The aim of this paper is to examine and evaluate some of the arguments that gave rise to the introduction of the concept of intention in action theory. My contention is that none of them (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  31. Renée Bilodeau (1993). L'inertie du Mental. Dialogue 32 (03):507-525.
    This paper addresses two objections raised against anomalous monism. Firstly, on the basis of Davidson's assertion that all causal relations fall under strict laws, many critics conclude mental properties are causally inert since they are non-nomic. I argue that this conclusion follows only on the further assumption that all causally efficacious properties are nomic properties. It is perfectly consistent, however, to hold that there is a law covering each causal relation without each causal statement being the instantiation of a law. (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  32. John Bishop (2004). Review of Berent En, How We Act: Causes, Reasons and Intentions. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004 (9).
  33. John Bishop (1993). Explaining Human Action. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (3):726-731.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  34. John Bishop (1990). Natural Agency: An Essay on the Causal Theory of Action. Cambridge University Press.
    From a moral point of view we think of ourselves as capable of responsible actions. From a scientific point of view we think of ourselves as animals whose behavior, however highly evolved, conforms to natural scientific laws. Natural Agency argues that these different perspectives can be reconciled, despite the skepticism of many philosophers who have argued that "free will" is impossible under "scientific determinism." This skepticism is best overcome according to the author, by defending a causal theory of action, that (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  35. John Bishop (1990). Searle on Natural Agency. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (3):282 – 300.
  36. John Bishop (1987). Sensitive and Insensitive Responses to Deviant Action. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 65 (4):452 – 469.
  37. John Bishop (1985). Causal Deviancy and Multiple Intentions: A Reply to James Montmarquet. Analysis 45 (3):163 - 168.
  38. John Bishop (1981). Peacocke on Intentional Action. Analysis 41 (2):92 - 98.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (5 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  39. Paul Bloom, Causal Deviance and the Attribution of Moral Responsibility.
    Are current theories of moral responsibility missing a factor in the attribution of blame and praise? Four studies demonstrated that even when cause, intention, and outcome (factors generally assumed to be sufficient for the ascription of moral responsibility) are all present, blame and praise are discounted when the factors are not linked together in the usual manner (i.e., cases of ‘‘causal deviance’’). Experiment 4 further demonstrates that this effect of causal deviance is driven by intuitive gut feelings of right and (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  40. Maria Borges (2008). Reasons and Causes of Actions in Kant. In Valerio Hrsg V. Rohden, Ricardo Terra & Guido Almeida (eds.), Recht Und Frieden in der Philosophie Kants. 1--63.
    Remove from this list |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  41. David Botting (2010). Three Theses on Acts. Philosophical Explorations 13 (1):65 – 79.
    In 'A Theory of Human Action' (1970) Alvin Goldman launched an attack on what has become known as the Anscombe-Davidson Identity Thesis. In brief, this is the thesis that our acts are our body movements, and that all the different effects of that movement do not entail that different acts have been performed, but only that an identical act has different descriptions. In her response to Goldman, Anscombe (1981) claims that Goldman is arguing at cross-purposes. I will argue that this (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (6 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  42. Myles Brand (1989). Proximate Causation of Action. Philosophical Perspectives 3:423-442.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  43. Myles Brand (1987). Interpersonal Practical Reasoning. Grazer Philosophische Studien 30:77-95.
    According to one version of the Causal Theory, an action is a mental or bodily event caused by an intention to act. Deliberate action requires prior planning. The practical syllogism is interpreted as a summary description of the planning process, where the conclusion reports the agent's intention. Social action differs from individual action in that only the former requires coordination of one's action with members of a group. This difference is reflected in the intention with which we act, labeled 'we-intention' (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (5 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  44. J. A. M. Bransen & S. E. Cuypers (eds.) (1998). Human Action, Deliberation and Causation. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
    The essays collected together in this volume, many of them written by leading scholars in the field, explore the commonsensical fact that our presence as ...
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  45. Michael E. Bratman (1995). Review of Action, Intention, and Reason by Robert Audi. [REVIEW] Ethics 105 (4):927-.
  46. Michael Brent (2012). The Power of Agency. Dissertation, Columbia University
    I present an alternative account of action centered around the notion of effort. I argue that effort has several unique features: it is attributed directly to agents; it is a causal power that each agent alone possesses and employs; it enables agents causally to initiate, sustain, and control their capacities during the performance of an action; and its presence comes in varying degrees of strength. After defending an effort-based account of action and criticizing what is known as the standard story (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  47. Bill Brewer (1995). Mental Causation: Compulsion by Reason. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 69 (69):237-253.
    The standard paradigm for mental causation is a person’s acting for a reason. Something happens - she intentionally φ’s - the occurrence of which we explain by citing a relevant belief or desire. In the present context, I simply take for granted the following two conditions on the appropriateness of this explanation. First, the agent φ’s _because_ she believes/desires what we say she does, where this is expressive of a _causal_ dependence.1 Second, her believing/desiring this gives her a _reason_ for (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  48. A. Buckareff, J. Aguilar & K. Frankish (eds.) (2010). New Waves in the Philosophy of Action. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  49. Andrei A. Buckareff (2012). An Action Theoretic Problem for Intralevel Mental Causation. Philosophical Issues 22 (1):89-105.
    I take it that the following is a desideratum of our theories in the philosophy of mind. A theory in the philosophy of mind should help us better understand ourselves as agents and aid in our theorizing about the nature of action and agency. In this paper I discuss a strategy adopted by some defenders of nonreductive physicalism in response to the problem of causal exclusion. The strategy, which I refer to as “intralevelism,” relies on treating mental causation as intra (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (8 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  50. Andrei A. Buckareff (2011). How Does Agent-­‐Causal Power Work? Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):105-121.
    Research on the nature of dispositionality or causal power has flourished in recent years in metaphysics. This trend has slowly begun to influence debates in the philosophy of agency, especially in the literature on free will. Both sophisticated versions of agent-­‐causalism and the new varieties of dispositionalist compatibilism exploit recently developed accounts of dispositionality in their defense. In this paper, I examine recent work on agent-­‐causal power, focusing primarily on the account of agent-­‐causalism developed and defended by Timothy O’Connor’s in (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (6 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
1 — 50 / 388